Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is really, really rich. But he’s not a miser.
Most recently, Ross has made the biggest donation ever to the University of Michigan. The gift, trumpeted via press release by the football team he owns, amounts to $200 million.
In all, Ross has given $313 million to Michigan.
Earlier this year, Ross announced that at least half of his $4.4 billion net worth eventually will go to charity.
Though some may disagree with public proclamations of charitable giving, doing it publicly is better than not doing it at all. And while it’s easy to say Ross can afford to give away that much money because he has so much more, it’s likely not easy to part with gigantic chunks of cash, no matter how much cash a person has. (It’s a problem we all would love to have.)
Making the gestures even more selfless for Ross is the reality that his willingness to give away so much money will make it no easier to obtain partial taxpayer funding for proposed upgrades to the football stadium he owns. While Ross likely hopes that those who would oppose a public contribution will see him as a benevolent billionaire who deserves outside funding, the more likely reaction will be, “If you can afford to give it away, you can afford to pay for your own stadium upgrades.”
There’s really no good response to that, and it will be impossible to reverse the impression that taxpayers and politicians aren’t simply subsidizing a billionaire — they’re subsidizing a billionaire’s charitable giving.