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Avoiding subprime, but not charity

Amy Scott Nov 22, 2007


Lisa Napoli: On this day we give thanks, a story about giving away some of your look. Investment bank Goldman Sachs has managed to avoid the heavy losses its competitors have suffered from the subprime mortgage fallout. So its announced the creation of a new billion-dollar charitable fund. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has details.

Amy Scott: Goldman Sachs’ partners will give a portion of their salaries to the new fund. The firm made more than $8 billion in the first nine months of the year.

Morningstar analyst Ryan Lentell says it makes sense to give some of it away:

Ryan Lentell: It’s probably a good way to earn some good will when the press is gonna get after them over how much the company is pocketing, despite the problems in the market in general.

Goldman Sachs isn’t the only philanthropist on Wall Street. Bear Stearns requires some senior managers to give at least 4 percent of their salaries to charity each year. Last year, they gave $45 million.

Bond trader Josh Weintraub says the tough part is choosing which causes to support.

Josh Weintraub: It’s actually a high-class problem. You know we look at each one based on its merit and what it means to us, and we balance it out.

The somber mood on Wall Street is taking a toll on fundraising.

Marla Willner of TD Securities raises money for the Libby Ross Foundation. It supports breast cancer research.

Marla Willner: People generally aren’t feeling as well-off, so it makes them feel less able to contribute.

Maybe she should try Goldman Sachs.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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