Monday, June 18, 2007

Give Back; Feel Better

Lest you have any doubt, Dear Readers, rest assured that Your Dedicated Correspondent in All Things M&A is as red in tooth and claw as the next fellow. I am sure that I have left just as many broken, twisted bodies in my bloody wake as the next investment banker. Nevertheless, on occasion even I have been known to look up from the grindstone and take a glance at the wider world.

Nine times out of ten, this mood passes quickly, and I can put it down to gas or a bad oyster. On the tenth occasion, however, some inkling of the broader context in which I and my fellow mercenaries ply our trade does seep dimly into my consciousness, and I am inspired to the uncommon act of reflection.

My thoughts turn this direction today in reaction to the news that Blackstone co-founder Pete Peterson, who is pulling out somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.9 billion from his company's upcoming IPO, plans to give the lion's share of his loot to charity. Now this—whether you like the man or not (I do)—is an admirable thing. Certainly more admirable than recent behavior by certain shorter, more socially active colleagues of Mr. Peterson.

So, in tribute to Pete the Greek's magnanimous gesture, I offer below a short list of noble causes which would be delighted to accept your filthy lucre and tainted simoleons should you feel compelled to atone for your sins, or simply share your monetary spoils with a few deserving fellow travelers on this small blue planet. While there is nothing inherently more noble or deserving in these organizations than many, many others, the Dealmaker family likes them because they are slightly off the beaten charity path, they tend to put your hard-earned dollars directly to work in very focused ways, and they are just as happy to receive $25 in cash from a struggling Financial Analyst as $1 million in Google stock from a hardened Managing Director. Plus, you can give to most of them directly online.

If you have better ideas, by all means donate there. (And send suggestions for similar charities to TED at epicureandealmaker [at] hushmail [dot] com: I am always looking for good ideas, and your suggestion may just make it onto this list, which will become a permanent feature of this blogsite.)

Give back, and feel better.

The Nature Conservancy — They save endangered ecosystems the old fashioned way: they buy them. Capitalism at its finest.
The Doe Fund — (For New Yorkers) They help the homeless with jobs, training, and support. Plus, they pick up a hell of a lot of trash around the city.
The Smile Train — Two hundred and fifty bucks fixes an impoverished kid's cleft palate, and gives him or her a shot at a normal life. Cheap, cheap, cheap. And efficient, too.
Heifer International — Give a family a cow, a goat, or some bees—plus some training—and they just might be able to pull themselves out of grinding poverty. Cool concept, and the little Dealmakers love it.
Phoenix House — Rehab that works. Lots of folks who aren't celebrities need it, too.
Team for Kids — (For New Yorkers) They run after-school fitness programs for New York City public schoolkids. (NY City has not offered organized phys ed classes in public school for decades. I kid you not.) Plus, they get crazy people to raise money for them by running in the New York City Marathon. Excellent.
Row New York — (For New Yorkers) Historically, rowing was a sport for rich white males. This outfit teaches the skills and discipline of the sport to public high school girls in NYC. Making young women better butt-kickers since 2003.

© 2007 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.