The New Philanthropy: Empowering Lives to Save Lives

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If income inequality is as great as some fear, if we are in the midst of a new Gilded Age, if the moguls of the present are more powerful than the magnates of the past, if the philanthropists of yesteryear have a stronger record of generosity and progress than their successors, if all of these things are true, there are still causes to unite and inspire us –– there is a cause whose most impressive monument is not a series of monuments on behalf of its benefactor, but a series of peoples whose lives are monuments unto themselves.

I refer, specifically, to those initiatives that empower lives to save lives. I refer to the moral heirs of Carnegie and Rockefeller, not because of their wealth, but because of their interest in a wealth of ideas, be it building public libraries or endowing research universities; or, in the case of the Disque Foundation, offering the world’s first free life support training courses online.

Such courses are more valuable – they are invaluable because of their immediacy and impact – than attempts by some philanthropists to equip every child with a laptop, every adult with a smartphone or tablet, every village and township with Wi-Fi, every school with computers. Those attempts are ambitious, but they are audacious, too, because they do not address the urgency of teaching people how to deliver lifesaving care. The kind of care we need at home and abroad, so the least among us know how to at least administer CPR.

According to Mackenzie Thompson, Disque Foundation Outreach Associate:

"Saving lives means giving others the chance to make a difference in the world. This is what we do every day at the Disque Foundation. Being trained in CPR and Basic Life Support does more than just save one life, it empowers a network of individuals to feel confident in their life saving skills."

I second that sentiment, since we need not spend billions to save millions of lives and dollars.

Now is the time to celebrate results over riches; to celebrate enriching minds with the skills to save lives; to celebrate teaching the practical over theorizing about the improbable; to celebrate the measurable over the incalculable, because the former provides immeasurable rewards –– it saves lives, period.

Now is the time to learn these skills, so we can better the lives of our fellow Americans and all humankind.

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