Fwd: Proposal on extropian philantropy

From: Sasha Chislenko (sasha1@netcom.com)
Date: Sun Feb 13 2000 - 19:51:42 MST

We have occasionally expressed various thoughts in this
direction, but haven't really done anything.
Maybe this, more carefully argued, letter from Nick
Cassimatis (my friend, colleague, and fellow extropian
working in the MIT Media Lab) will help move things forward?

>From: "Nick Cassimatis" <nlc@media.mit.edu>
>To: <jpbonsen@alum.mit.edu>, <sasha1@netcom.com>
>Subject: Putting internet money to good use
>Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 01:06:42 -0500
>The hordes of new internet millionaires throwing their money away to
>the usual charities represent a new philanthropic impulse than we can
>channel to important extropian research.
>The problem is that these people do not realize that some very
>important science and technology goes unfunded by the multi-billion
>dollar US technology budget. An organization explicitly devoted to
>science and technology philanthropy would change some of this. Just
>like old-style philanthropists know to give money to the United Way
>to help the poor, this proposed organization would be known as the
>place to give money to important, cutting-edge science and
>I suspect that by merely existing and promoting itself as a
>philanthropic vehicle, much more money would move into good science
>and technology.
>I see three possible structures for this. Each has different
>advantages and should be tried:
>(1) A clearinghouse for important, underfunded science. People could
>go to a web site, find appealing science and make donations. The
>organization would be a middle man making it very easy for both
>philanthropists and scientists to use the site and provide the
>"non-profit" legal status needed for tax purposes, etc.
>(2) A foundation that raises money and distributes it according to
>its board's decisions. This is a turn-key solution for the
>philanthropist; he can write a check, feel good and forget about it.
>(3) An philanthropic incubator or venture fund. This is perhaps the
>most novel idea. People will not be giving away their money, but
>will be making an investment in a good thing that might or might not
>pay off. The problem with this is that you may have to focus more on
>profits in some cases than you'd like. The benefit is a potentially
>huge endowment through the IPOs of some of the ventures.
>The key behind each of these approaches is to tap the philanthropic
>impulses of the new millionaires to create a large vein of capital
>for good research. Whatever their underlying activities, the
>organizations need to be promoted as a place for "do gooders" to put
>their money.
>I send you two this note because you are probably the two best
>positioned people to make something like this happen. Feel free to
>incorporate these ideas as much or as little as you want without

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