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Some donations can be tax deductible, and even it they aren't they boost the donor public image as soon as it become news. I'm not saying Gates, Allen, Rockefeller or anyone else donated to charities only as a form of personal advertising, yet there's certainly a good incentive to do that which should be taken into account before making an opinion about someone.

Being tax deductible doesn't somehow make it profitable or even free. It just means that on a million dollar donation, it actually cost you something like $600k in the end. You're still down that money in every scenario.

Nobody is driven to donations because they are tax deductible. Deductions just allow you to donate more than you would have.

Charitable contributions weren't tax-deductible when Rockefeller was 16. Hell, there was no income tax when Rockefeller was 16.

He probably did it to gain favor with God (most of his charity was church-based until he got fabulously wealthy), but of all the things done in the name of God, charity is a pretty good one.

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