Success Stories, leadership and entrepreneurship
The Ten Richest Charities in the World
Ever since Dr. Faustus sold his soul to the devil for power, glory and the almighty buck, there has been a culturally entrenched anxiety around wealth. Money makes rich people feel guilty, and less rich people feel righteously indignant. The background music to a glamorous foreground is the relentless, niggling awareness of poverty and need somewhere else. This unsavoury reality is something only the most selfless of us are able to confront head on. Many of us, though, throw guilt-induced money at the soldiers of socialism and hope equality will happen while we get on with our daily lives. Of course, whatever the motivations for the financial support of charitable work, the result is the same. And so the money-throwers are as crucial a part in the quest against deprivation and hardship as the front line warriors.
But the business of charitable giving is a little less clear cut than one might imagine. Giving away money requires administration, manpower, and evaluation of requirement. And all that needs to be paid for. Non-Profit Organisations are entitled to generate ‘profit’, but that profit has to be directed towards sustaining the organisation, and the furtherance of its charitable goals. You may see where problems arise. The vagaries of what exactly it costs to do these two things mean that charities regularly come under the microscope, the salaries of CEOs scrutinised and the distribution of surplus funds minutely audited.
While it might seem a little cynical, then, to evaluate charities based on income, it is in fact an essential task. Understanding where charitable funds lie sleeping make it possible for us to keep a wary eye on where exactly the dollars wake up. So here they are, the ten richest charities in the world today.
10. The Church Commissioners for England: $8.1 billion
This body was established in 1948 to look after the historical property assets of the Church of England. Now, the C of E might not advertise its need with the visual aid of a tired donkey and a hunger ravished young child but, apparently, it is in dire need of the guardianship of a charitable organisation. Not just a charity, but an exempt charity. This means that the Church of England Commissioners are not required to submit to regular external supervision. This sort of arrangement is not uncommon in England and is usually practiced in relation to universities or other organisations deemed to have, internally, a sufficient auditing procedure to ensure compliance with national law. Certainly, the Church Commissioners have been thoroughly transparent in their handling of funds, specifying that the majority of profit pays clergy pensions.