He may not be the world’s wealthiest man, but he could be the man who gave the most to mankind.

Billionaire Warren Buffett gifted more than $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and that funding will go a long way to leveling the quality of life for people not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

The foundation will never have Buffett’s name on it, but his influence with it should underscore its impact and make it a charitable player on a world scene for perpetuity.

The example Buffett gave Americans is one that should be followed in Indiana, and in the Logansport area. In any community, there is always much complaining about what a community does not have, but there often is little discussion or promotion of adding the amenities communities lack from pools, to stores, to health care and high-paying jobs.

Indiana is ahead of the national curve in its network of community foundations. Long before the Buffett donation, another benefactor, Eli Lilly, bequeathed millions to set up the Lilly Endowment, an organization that has spawned community foundations in all 92 counties. Scholarships for scores of students have been funded, and that in itself is a great legacy for Lilly.

But the foundations Lilly helped found, and those he didn’t such as the Logansport Community School Corporation Foundation, Logansport Memorial Hospital Foundation and Four County Counseling Center Foundation all subscribe to the philosophy of a commercial for Las Vegas vacations: “What happens there stays there.” In other words, what generosity is gifted to a foundation remains with it forever to spread the icing on a community cake.

Others such as the McTaggart family of Logansport recognized the need to support their community. The McTaggart Trust serves Logansport and Cass County as the McHale Charitable Trust did for many years.

By donating billions, Buffett put his faith in the future of a concept, an ideal and a financial conduit. Perhaps his faith in Bill Gates is his greatest investment in a lifetime filled with more great investments than any one on Wall Street has ever known.

For the rest of us, investing in the future of communities can be done by contributing to foundations in Carroll, Cass, Fulton, Miami, Pulaski and White counties, or creating our own.

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