Kalamazoo is little beyond L.A.W.’s beat, but the city made the national news a week ago in a way that merits a comment. Anonymous donors have offered put together a fund to pay, with a few caveats, for 65% to 100% of college tuition of every student who graduates from the Kalamazoo public school system. If I had a fortune to make the same offer, I don’t think I would because I think students are for the most part cheated in the education they get from over-priced colleges. It is nonetheless a remarkable and generous offer.
Two aspects of this great gift to Kalamazoo families bear comparison to the usual philanthropic practices of the allegedly wealthiest families here in River City. #1 – Unlike the DeVoses and the Van Andels who have their names chiseled on everything their donations fund, the Kalamazoo donors are anonymous and seek no public reward for their charity. It would appear that for them the gift is more important than the giver. #2 – It looks like there are no strings attached. No side deals or concessions or business opportunities that return to a flow of cash to the donors, in contrast to the “gifts” for the Van Andel Arena or the DeVos Place Convention Center.
In light of what passes in this town for philanthropy, it worthwhile taking notice of the real thing every so often.