Doctor donates more than $53,000 to charity

For a good cause: Dr Henry Howard is proud of his efforts in donating half his salary to charity last year. Photo by Megan Fisher

Fresh out of university and starting their first job, not everyone’s first action is to donate half their wages to charity, but for Dr Henry Howard it was his top priority.

Last year, Dr Howard spent his first year as an intern doctor at Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton where he committed to donating 50 per cent of his yearly income to charity.

After completing the year, he managed to raise $53,441.51 for various charities across the world.

Now reflecting on his past year of donations, Dr Howard is happy with his decision, knowing he did the right thing.

“It was one of the best things I’ve ever done,” he said.

“I’m extremely proud of it and I think it was the right thing to do.

“I think I’ll always think it’s the right thing to do.

“I did it for a year and some people thought it was crazy, it was a bit crazy.

“I just wanted to send a message to remind people, particularly doctors, that we are a lot more well off then we tend to realise and we have a lot more capacity to give then we tend to make use of.”

During 2021, Dr Howard would get online and live stream his donations after receiving each fortnightly pay check.

Based on what he called a pyramid scheme of charities, Dr Howard used Effective Altruism to determine the charities to which he should donate, as to avoid ineffective charity donations.

Effective Altruism is the philosophical and social movement that uses evidence and reason to effectively work out the best way to help others.

“If you do some research and you look into the right things, you can find charities that are doing amazing work and are strongly based in evidence,” he said.

“I gave to a lot of preventative health charities in developing countries, because often that’s where the resources are needed most, and preventative health because it’s easy to quantify.”

Some of the charities Dr Howard gave to included Against Malaria Foundation, Helen Keller International, Deworm the World Initiative, Innovations for Poverty Action, Fred Hollows Foundation and Fistula Foundation.

Now at Barwon Health in Geelong, Dr Howard was continuing his giving journey and encouraged others to follow the ‘Give What You Can Pledge’ movement — a community of people that pledges to give 10 per cent of their salary to charity each year.

“It’s really worth looking into this stuff and doing the research,” he said.

“I’d recommend people go and look at websites like The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer or Give Well, which is a charity evaluator, and the Giving What We Can organisation as suggestions to the charities as well.”

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Give What You Can Pledge movement, visit its website for more information.