Jon Huntsman on Impact of 'Headline' Donations

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," June 27, 2006, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: The world's two richest mean combining to give $60 billion in charity — so, will these big headlines spur other wealthy folks to donate even more?

Let's ask billionaire industrialist Jon Huntsman, who has been a huge benefactor for cancer research, among other causes. In fact, he was giving when giving wasn't cool. He intends to donate his entire fortune, when all is said and done.

But I hope to personally hit him up for some money while he's here. Mr. Huntsman is also author of the book "Winners Never Cheat."

Jon, good to have you.

JON HUNTSMAN, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN, HUNTSMAN CORPORATION: Thank you, Neil. It's so wonderful to be on your show again.

CAVUTO: You know, you have given a great deal to cancer research. You opened up a foundation in Salt Lake City, a neck of the woods that didn't have a such a thing.

You have had brushes with death yourself. That was a big reason for doing this. But you never did a press conference. You never had a gala speech about it. In fact, if I didn't do a little research, I might never have known about it.


CAVUTO: So, why didn't you do the Buffett-Gates thing?

HUNTSMAN: Well, you know, I have wonderful respect for Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett.

But I don't seek publicity, Neil. And I think, sometimes, it's a great blessing to be able to give money away, and to give it to people who need it and charities that need it. And I will worry about myself secondarily.

But it's kind of you to say that. It really didn't deserve any publicity.

CAVUTO: OK. People could quibble with that, Jon, but I will move on.


CAVUTO: You going to take yourself right off the Forbes 400 list, by design. Best as I can tell, Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett are giving away a lot of their fortune, but not all of it. What do you think of that?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I think that it's important that they keep part of it, because I suspect that their children will inherit part of that fortune, and they will have smaller foundations — at least Mr. Buffett will — because he will want something for the type of charities that he himself feels strongly about.

I think, Neil, that you and I have talked about this before. And I think America has talked about it. Every local community and every state has special types of charities. You and are I particularly sensitive to cancer, because we both had it. You're very sensitive to multiple sclerosis, because you have had M.S.

We need to focus on those diseases and a lot of other areas that are common to communities. And so, we have to keep some of our charitable dollars where they can be presented on a local front and help those causes that are indigenous to the United States, particularly, and even though I have great respect for what they have done with their combined fortunes.

CAVUTO: All right.

Now, Jon, I do not mean to be disrespectful. You have nine children, right, including the governor of your state...


CAVUTO: ... which ain't too shabby.

HUNTSMAN: That's right.


CAVUTO: And you have sixty-some odd grandchildren, right, sixty-some odd? Am I right with that?

HUNTSMAN: Well, it's 54, soon to be 55.

CAVUTO: Wow. OK. All right.


HUNTSMAN: I lose count, too, Neil.


CAVUTO: All right. But what will all those Christmases be like there?

But now, did you sit them down and say: "Look, guys, here is the deal. I'm giving away the lion's share of my fortune, and here is what you are left with"?

How did that go down?

HUNTSMAN: Well, I think, you know, they saw me start from nothing. And they understood that their heritage really didn't have a great deal of funding as part of it.

And all I can say is that they have been wonderful with it. We have, of course, given a small amount to each of our children and to our grandchildren. But the vast bulk of it will go to those people in our communities and throughout the world who need help, and cancer and cancer research. And none of them have come to me yet and say, grandfather, you know, I don't love you anymore.


CAVUTO: Could you rethink this you know, just a little bit; just rethink a little bit?


CAVUTO: None of them said that, huh?

HUNTSMAN: Well, none of them said it yet.

But, you know, our granddaughters are getting old enough, to the point where they could put their arms around their grandfather, and I will give them anything. So, who knows what will happen from here, Neil.

CAVUTO: I know it's an ego thing for you, but, finally, when you see yourself off that list — and you have been consistently on among the world's richest list, whether it's Fortune, Forbes, BusinessWeek, you name it — is it going to stick at you a little that you won't be on it?

HUNTSMAN: No, no, no.

I'm just delighted to be off the rich man's list, because, you know, one way or another, in this great land of America, we have been able to start from nothing and to do very well financially.

And then to be able to give it back, Neil, to be able to give it back to society, give it back to our communities, give it back in the way that will help others who are down and out, or who need scholarships, or who need help with cancer or M.S., it's such a blessing, and it's such a great personal feeling of satisfaction, that I'm just so delighted that we're able to do it.

CAVUTO: All right.

HUNTSMAN: It's just a great honor, here in America, to give back what we make.

CAVUTO: All right, Jon Huntsman, thanks for all you're doing. And thanks for enduring the tacky questions on your family. But I had to ask, all right?

Thank you very much.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you. Thank you. I will give the governor your best wishes, Neil.


CAVUTO: Please do. Thank you, Jon.

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