My grandfather was the meat packer Oscar Mayer. In 1986, when I turned 25, I gave away an inheritance worth almost half a million dollars. Had the funds remained invested in a modest growth fund, they would be worth $4 to 6 million today.
I made this decision because I hadn't earned the money, didn't need it, and was aware of more urgent needs for it. I donated the money to several foundations funding social change. I have no regrets.
I believe that inherited wealth is both bad for children and bad for the society. I have been a leader in efforts to keep the U.S. Congress from abolishing the estate tax. In 2002, I co-authored a book with the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.
I also co-founded Responsible Wealth and Business for Shared Prosperity and wrote several books on economic inequality and social change philanthropy. I am presently writing a book about privilege called Born on Third Base. I work as a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and live in Boston with my family.
More on Chuck Collins:
Read the recent Vanity Fair article "Can Gates and Buffett Persuade Billionaires to Donate Half Their Fortunes?" featuring Chuck Collins.
Chuck recently testified before Massachusetts state legislature in favor of divesting state pension funds from fossil fuels with Tom Francis from Fossil Free Index Fund. They are hoping to proceed faster than the speed of climate change!
| Northeast | 40 to 59 Years Old | Under $1M | at least 50% | Inheritance |
| Social Justice | Fairness | Impact | Passion |