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Huntsman Sr. says he doesn’t count tithing as philanthropy

Huntsman Sr. says he doesn’t count tithing as philanthropy

(Ravell Call/Deseret News, File)



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SALT LAKE CITY — Jon Huntsman Sr. recently said in an interview that he doesn’t consider tithing as philanthropic giving and that people should be more willing to donate to charities.

Huntsman, 77, was featured in Forbes on June 23, where he talked about his membership in The Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge was founded to encourage billionaires to donate half of their wealth to charity and includes other famous philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Huntsman has given away $1.5 billion — or about 80 percent of his total wealth — to various causes and charities, according to Forbes. However, that total does not include his tithing of 10 percent of his income that he has given to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tithing money typically goes to fund the costs of building LDS temples, churches and supporting missionaries, according to mormon.org.

Huntsman said he doesn’t include his tithing as charitable giving.

“My philanthropy is not borne out of my faith,” he told Forbes. “They require 10 percent tithing. I don’t consider that to be philanthropy and I don’t consider it to be part of my philanthropic giving. I consider it as club dues. People who put money in the church basket and people who go to church and pay the pastor: that isn’t real philanthropy, that’s just like you belong to a country club.”

Forbes reported that Huntsman is one of 19 living people who have donated more than $1 billion each to charity. Huntsman made the bulk of his wealth through his chemical products company, Huntsman Corporation. He also started and funded the Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute after losing his mother, father, grandmother, stepmother and brother to cancer and battling it himself.

Huntsman said giving to charity is very fulfilling for him.

“It’s a high, a real feeling of excitement and exhilaration to be able to help people,” he told Forbes. “It’s hard to explain why. It’s not something other members of my family have done; it’s not something that’s inherited. It’s just something that for me is very important.”

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