Many high profile businessmen and venture capitalists have found that true success lies not in what wealth is personally amassed, but what is done with that wealth to benefit humanity. Take names like Tony Robbins, Mark Stevens, or Bill Gates. Their incredible fortunes aren’t solely spent on improving their own status or lifestyle.
No, these philanthropists have taken on the responsibility of using their celebrity and wealthy recognition to pour millions of dollars into foundations that serve communities and peoples in need. For these notable individuals, the secret to living is found in their giving. Here’s a closer look at some of the influential philanthropists changing the world.
When chatting about the most recognized celebrity philanthropists, Bill Gates, and his wife Melinda, are almost always the first mentions. His estimated net worth is at nearly $94 billion, but looking back over the years, the records show that he has given away over $50 billion since he first started the Microsoft Corporations.
Gates has long recognized the position he is in and how he can help others, and through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals around the world. His areas of giving incorporate everything from education to healthcare, both in low-income cities around the United States and remote locations in the farthest reaches of Africa.
In the last 20 years, noted financial expert Warren Buffett has given over $46 billion to charities around the world. Though this number seems unbelievable, as the second richest person in the world, Buffet still has plenty of fortune to spare. AS the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has amassed a bank balance of around $84 billion.
However, he is continually making donations to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Susan Thomas Buffett Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In fact, Buffett and the Gates worked together to urge fellow billionaires to publicly donate significant portions of the wealth toward philanthropic ventures.
A self-made, celebrity success story, Oprah Winfrey has earned her rank on the list of noted philanthropists for her millions of dollars sent to help foundations like the Angel Network and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Winfrey’s story is unique, in that she grew up in a poor Mississippi household, where she endured sexual abuse as a young girl.
However, she fought her way out of these obstacles and established her place in journalism and philanthropy. In addition to forming her own charitable foundation, Winfrey has also invested millions into the Museum of African American History and Culture and N Street Village, a resource agency in Washington, D.C. for low-income or homeless women.
More than just one of the most talented basketball stars of the NBA, Michael Jordan has made his mark as a celebrity philanthropist. When his influence and wealth expanded by becoming a majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, he used the business connection to give over $3 million to causes involving feeding the hungry, education, and the military.
Beyond his business connections, he has personally given away millions to a variety of charities over the years. He has also personally gotten involved by serving as the Make-A-Wish Foundations Chief Wish Ambassador for several years.
One of the world’s biggest entrepreneurial success stories, Mark Zuckerberg got his start as a businessman with a website that later morphed into Facebook. Right now, Zuckerberg has taken in nearly $46 billion from his venture, but he and his wife Priscilla Chan have made a pledge to give away as much as 99% of their wealth during the course of their lifetimes.
Through their efforts, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has funded opportunities in justice, science, and education for people around the world. Just like the Gates, their mission as a couple is to spread compassion and unconditional love to their human family across the globe.
The Harry Potter series has captivated millions of people around the world, both old and young alike. For J.K. Rowling, beloved author of the series, her billionaire-status came by way of merchandise sales, book sales, film rights, and theme parks.
However, Rowling has also created a position in the rankings of charitable giving, moving her financial worth down to around $650 million. She is known for her global charity Lumos, which supports child welfare programming, healthcare reform, educational reform, and social care system reform.
Though these businessmen and women have made it possible to change the world through billion-dollar donations, anyone can be a philanthropist. Whether you have a hundred dollars or you can spare a few thousands, you can have a part in making a difference for your brothers and sisters around the world.
Even if you don’t have any money, selfless acts of kindness can be used to make someone else’s day a little brighter and more hopeful.