NEW YORK — As the presidential election in 2016 begins to approach, Hillary Rodham Clinton is moving more and more into the public eye.
In light of this, and recent criticism regarding her finances, Hillary Clinton announced that all the speaking fees from her university talks over the past year-and-a-half will go to her family’s Clinton Foundation.
“All of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and life-saving work,” Clinton said.
The decision came after students at the University of Las Vegas threatened to protest her upcoming speech if she did not return the $225,000 the school paid for her to speak.
These new funds could have a major impact for the Clinton Foundation, considering the amount of money that will be rolling in.
Clinton charges $200,000 or more for a university speech. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles paid upwards of $300,000 for her to come speak on their campus this past March.
The Washington Post estimates that Clinton raised over $1 million from appearances at eight schools. This sum of money could allow the Clinton Foundation to continue its array of global projects and provide aid around the world.
Bill Clinton originally created the foundation in 2001, after his presidential career ended. However, in the past year, Hillary and her daughter Chelsea became more involved. The organization was renamed The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in 2013.
The Clinton Foundation tackles some of the biggest fundamental struggles facing people around the world, including climate change, economic development, global health and health and wellness.
The Foundation now also works on issues like empowering women and fighting infant mortality, with the Clinton women as spokespeople.
However, Clinton’s donation does not come without a political price. The change in name has raised skepticism, particularly from the right, about her public image. Clinton faces scrutiny as claims fly that her involvement in a global aid organization is a political scheme, at least in part, to make her more appealing for the presidential nomination.
Hillary’s donations counter accusations that her high speaking fee distances her from the lower socioeconomic brackets and the issue of the price of college. College affordability was a central tenant of both Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and President Obama’s campaign agendas, and some see Clinton’s high fees as an indication that this is a cause she does not support.
There is another side to the controversy that is not being discussed.
Even if political motives could be a driving force to this donation, what does it really matter when the money donated will go to promoting projects that will pull people around the world from life-threatening poverty?
As criticisms of Hillary’s donations circulate in headlines around the nation, it is important to remember where this million-dollar donation is going. The Clinton Foundation embodies the same spirit as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: hugely influential and wealthy families congregating their power and money into a worthy cause.
The Clinton Foundation works through partnerships with big businesses, international governments and other nonprofits to provide aid to struggling communities around the world. 350 employees in 180 countries work to design, build and implement projects like the Trees of Hope Project Malawi, which builds community nurseries to reinvigorate local forests and offset the advance of climate change.
The Clinton Foundation uses its founder’s celebrity status to accomplish monumental things. The Foundation tackles a wide array of causes, from sustainable farming in South America to working to end elephant poaching in Africa.
One of the most successful projects has been in conjunction with the South African government to make AIDS treatment drugs more affordable to citizens, therefore making it possible to treat three-and-a-half times more patients in the country.
The lives of big time politicians are often convoluted, scrutinized and criticized, but it is important to remember the benefits of their actions, regardless of the motives. The money Hillary Clinton raised from speaking at colleges will go to life-saving programs under the Clinton Foundation. The money, while politically tainted, will go toward good.
– Caitlin Thompson