Dear Millionaires and Billionaires,
How about putting your money in places where it can have a major impact on the lives of socio-economically disadvantaged students, rather than those—the majority of whom—have been privileged their entire lives. At my public university it is not uncommon to have students working 30 to 40 hours a week while taking a full load of classes. Many of these same students also have children of their own, and are attempting to balance work, family, and school.
So I’m asking you to imagine a public university so well funded that it could offer these students smaller class sizes with greater individual attention, taught by full time faculty, all while paying lower tuition.
Faculty too would benefit with smaller teaching loads and additional time for research. Faculty should not have to struggle to find time to stay current in their field—the same research and scholarship that benefits student in the classroom as well as the faculty member performing it.
Why am I mentioning this? Recently, the Harvard Magazine wrote that Harvard’s endowment had risen $11.3 billion to $53.2 billion over the last year. Additionally, even while in the midst of a pandemic, it ran a $283 million surplus. Its surplus alone could fund the entire operation of my public university for almost two years.
So, if you really want to do the most good, perhaps you should consider donating to a university where your contribution will literally change the life and life prospects of its students—rather than supporting schools that have more money than they know what to do with.