Charity for Fun and Profit


There will, no doubt, be naysayers on both sides of the aisle who think Google's for-profit charity,, goes against Google's motto ("Don't Be Evil"), but perhaps none so vehemently as Milton Friedman. Google's response to Friedman–the shareholders had fair warning:

Google had existed for only six years, when, in advance of the company's initial public offering in August 2004, Mr. Page and Mr. Brin told potential investors that they planned to set aside 1 percent of the company's stock and an equal percentage of profits for philanthropy. By the end of 2004, was formed.

And the new philanthropic company has some pretty cool projects in mind, exciting even to the most anti-capitalist diehard, I'd think. Like "the creation of an 'early detection, rapid response' system for disease outbreaks. The idea would be an open-source, nongovernmental, public access network for detecting, reporting and responding to pandemics," and "an ultra-fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid car engine that runs on ethanol, electricity and gasoline."

For the best debate about corporate social responsibility ever, go here.