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28 June 2000

Sharing the Wealth

Dear GENI Friend,

Using leverage is necessary to move mountains — because trying to do it by yourself would be impossible. A major effort of GENI is to influence those people with money and influence.

Last month, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation hosted a conference entitled Sharing the Wealth, attended by 400 CEOs and founders of high-tech companies. One discussion featured Ted Turner* (CNN Founder) and John Chambers (CEO of Cisco Systems) talking about their approaches to philanthropy. (An edited transcription of an National Public Radio interview):

Ted Turner:We talk about the digital divide. We talk about it all the time at Time-Warner too. We want to get computers in everyone's hands. But half the people in the world don't have electricity. Over a billion don't have access to clean drinking water. Forget the digital divide, they need food, water, clothing, shelter and a chance for an education

The moderator stated that most often a donor will give to their alma mater, church, museum or symphony. . . or give away product (like computers) — for example Apple and Microsoft.

Ted Turner: I think it's a little self-serving. It's not the same thing as giving to something that doesn't further your own business at the same time. But it's better to give computers than nothing.

John Chambers: I think the point is you've got to do both. It shouldn't be one vs. the other. Just to survive you've got the have shelter and food.

Ted Turner: And electricity. You can't run your computer without it.

Whether you like his style, Ted Turner certainly tells it like he sees it (as does Mr. Oliphant, the cartoonist.) We seem to be closer to a critical mass awareness every day. Maybe you could send a thank you note to Mr. Turner (c/o CNN, P O Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30348) asking him to get even more involved through the GENI Initiative? After all, more electricity will also expand CNN's reach around the world. (You can't watch TV without electricity!)

In partnership for the planet,

Peter Meisen

* As you may recall, Ted Turner committed $1 billion dollars to the United Nations over the next ten years — the largest financial gift ever made by anyone.

Attachment: [Peter Meisen and Frank Devlin at the Rotary International convention]


Keywords : Sharing the Wealth , Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Sharing the Wealth, philanthropy, Ted Turner, sustainable development, global energy network institute, uhv, hvdc, hvac

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