|Note: I have written a book on the Israel–Hamas war which we are releasing as a free digital download today. I invite you to get your copy here.
As you know, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died Sunday afternoon at the age of ninety-six. Former President Jimmy Carter said, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished.”
A tireless advocate for mental health services, Mrs. Carter was instrumental in passing the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 and continued her work on this vital cause for decades after. In 1982, she and her husband founded the Carter Center, a nonprofit dedicated to a range of issues from improving global health to monitoring democratic elections to negotiating peace agreements. She could often be found volunteering with Habitat for Humanity along with her husband in building homes for those in need.
In a day when many leaders use their public platforms for personal celebrity, Rosalynn Carter used hers to serve others.
“A kind of private barn of money”
According to Guido Alfani, an economic history professor at Bocconi University in Milan, the wealthiest members of society have often in Western history been expected to use their riches “to support their societies in times of crises like plagues, famines, or wars.” For example, the Tuscan humanist Poggio Bracciolini wrote in 1428 that “many greedy individuals” should “constitute a kind of private barn of money able to be of assistance to everybody.”
Those who gave charitably were not being entirely altruistic, however.