A Brief History
On September 18, 1997, Atlanta billionaire Ted Turner (aka, Mr. Jane Fonda from 1991 to 2001) donated a massive one billion dollars to the United Nations. His donation was used to create the United Nations Foundation, of which Turner serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Having become super wealthy through his media businesses, including a billboard and advertising business, CNN (the first 24/7 cable news network) and television station WTBS, a cable pioneering giant “super-station.” His 2017 net worth is estimated at $23 billion, so he could afford such an enormous gift. We list 10 of the places or people that we (with USMC and police connections) would seriously consider for a billion dollar donation if we were so well off. (Turner was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1938, moved to Georgia at age 9 and attended Brown University.)
Note: Beware of fake charities or those that exist mainly for the benefit of their own employees and not the people they supposedly help. Consult lists of bad charities on line to eliminate those that devote too much of their income to fundraising or salaries. (Charity Watch, Charity Navigator, or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance are sites that can help guide you.)
No significance to the order listed!
1. United Service Organization (USO).
Founded in 1941 to provide US military personnel overseas (mostly) with American entertainment to keep morale high, the USO now has 160 satellite locations around the world (27 States and 14 countries), with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Famous for top notch entertainers giving live shows (Bob Hope and Brooke Shields, for example), the USO also has provided military only sections in airports and in foreign ports where American military persons have a safe and friendly place to go to relax, get free coffee (and sometimes snacks), play chess and checkers, watch television, get travel assistance, etc. Sadly, 28 celebrities have died in service to the USO, but the 35 million Service members that have benefited from the USO make that sacrifice worthwhile.
2. Fraternal Order of Police.
Sadly, many Police or Firefighter charities are basically scams, and many of those are found on lists of “bad” charities. The FOP is the premier organization in the United States representing police officers against government entities that are often hostile for reasons that defy reality (political reasons instead of truth). I would love to be able to help with legal representation and contract negotiations for cops across the country in the face of terrible public relations as of late. Good quality candidates for police jobs are refusing to take the test or fill out the application, which hurts ALL of us, not just police. Getting the playing field a bit more level could result in great people once again flocking to sign up for police jobs, giving us all better policing.
3. Bluecoats, Inc.
Located in Beachwood, Ohio, this is another of the REAL police charities that are worthwhile. They take care of the families of Cuyahoga County (Ohio) officers that are killed in the line of duty, helping with mortgages, loans, college expenses for kids, and other financial considerations as needed. This nearly invisible organization deserves support, and perhaps with a generous billion dollar donation they could help set up similar chapters in other counties. An alternate choice would be C.O.P.S. (Concerns Of Police Survivors), another organization that supports the families of police killed on duty. The C.O.P.S. scholarship fund would be a good target for donations.
4. The Marine Corps League.
President Roosevelt signed the legislation creating the MCL in 1937, making it the only Congressionally chartered Marine Corps association. Devoted to all Marines, past and present, who served honorably, as well as their widows and orphans, the MCL also helps wounded Marines, provides benefits to current and former Marines, supports youth organizations (including the Boy Scouts of America and Toys for Tots), and provides assistance with securing Veterans benefits.
5. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America.
These 2 separate organizations are just about the greatest thing young folks in America can be involved with. So many of our astronauts, generals, and other high achieving people were Eagle Scouts or had some other association with Boy or Girl Scouts there must be a connection.
6. Basset Hound and Dachshund Rescue.
No, “Basset Hound and Dachshund Rescue” is not the name of an organization, but what we mean is we would be happy to be able to donate a billion dollars to various legitimate Basset Hound and Dachshund rescue organizations as these 2 hounds are the finest canine companions of all the dogs, by far. (This is based on personal observation.) If you have ever heard the term, “Loyal as a hound dog,” be assured there is a reason for that phrase, and the Basset Hound and Badger Hound (Dachshund) are the reason.
7. Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union Scholarship Fund/Ukraine-US Foundation.
Either or both of these scholarship funds would be our first choices to lavish a billion big ones on. (Okay, Sherlock, you deduce why we picked these 2!) Obviously, people of any particular ancestry or organizational affiliation would be likely to choose a scholarship fund consistent with the interests of the donor, so the main idea here is that we think scholarship funds are a wonderful place to donate money to. Do you?
8. Make a Wish Foundation.
Not only financial support, but also volunteers donating their time to grant wishes to children suffering from life threatening medical conditions. About every half hour a gravely ill kid gets a wish fulfilled, often accompanied by their families. Beware of “sound alike” scam organizations, Make a Wish is the real deal. We have personal knowledge of the wonderful work these people do.
9. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Founded by entertainer Danny Thomas (with others) in 1962 and located in Memphis, Tennessee, this children’s hospital does not charge patients a bill! The American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities is the fund raiser for St. Jude’s, and was founded by Thomas in 1957. Although named for a Catholic saint, St. Jude’s has no religious affiliation. The hospital specialized in catastrophic illness and injury to children, medical problems that would be hard to treat elsewhere or would be financially ruining to the family of such a patient. Rated #1 by US News and World Report for treating children’s cancer, St. Jude has been awarded all sorts of recognition over the years.
10. Planned Parenthood.
Found in 12 countries world-wide, Planned Parenthood has 159 facilities and 650 clinics all over the US. Founded in 1921 as The American Birth Control League (name changed to Planned Parenthood in 1942), the main goal of Planned Parenthood is the reproductive health of women. To that end, Planned Parenthood provides medical care and advice for all aspects of women’s reproductive health, including education, sexually transmitted and women specific diseases, birth control, and yes, abortion (although abortion is a small part of what Planned Parenthood does at about only 3% of the care provided). We realize this choice can be controversial, and respect the opinion of those that find this an inappropriate organization for donations. If you feel that way, you are invited to voice your opinion in the comments. Meanwhile, we believe there are too many people on the Earth and would like to prevent more, especially unwanted, people.
Question for students (and subscribers): Today we ask you, the reader, who or what would you donate a billion dollars to if you had the dough? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Burke, Bill and Ted Turner. Call Me Ted. Business Plus, 2009.