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  • The Most Famous Philanthropists

    Humans have been dealing with social issues throughout history that seem to have no absolute permanent solution. In present-day society, 780 million people live in extreme poverty, and only 40% of the worldwide population has attained tertiary education.

    These barriers and established social systems make it almost impossible for a person to improve their quality of life. Nonprofit organizations and philanthropists continue to take action to address these problems. Even America’s wealthiest individuals are engaging in corporate philanthropy to take social responsibility for their fortunes. Tech icon Bill Gates, talk show host Oprah Winfrey, and businessman George Soros are some of the most notable and generous givers.

    In this article, we’ll look into famous philanthropists and their contributions to the betterment of others.

     

    Andrew Carnegie

    Source of Wealth: U.S. Steel Industry

    Donation: $75-297.8 billion

    Andrew Carnegie is one of the world’s wealthiest people. Although he passed away a century ago, he remains the most notable philanthropist of all time. He dedicated his life giving away more than 90% of his wealth, donating generously to education by establishing universities, schools, and free public libraries. Andrew also funded the construction of civic institutions, church organs, and the prestigious concert venue Carnegie Hall.

     

    William Henry Vanderbilt

    Source of Wealth: Shipping and Railroad Business

    Donation: Unknown

    William is the son of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a shipping and railroad magnate in the 1800s. William inherited his father’s fortune and gave substantial donations to Vanderbilt University, Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and other institutions. He also left bequests to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the YMCA, and churches and hospitals.

     

    Warren Buffett

    Source of Wealth: Berkshire Hathaway

    Donation: $46 billion

    Warren Buffett has been donating to charity since 2000 and is considered one of the most prominent philanthropists in the world. He has given portions of his wealth to his friends’ foundations, including Bill and Melinda French Gates and Susan Thompson Buffett. Warren’s giving focus is on health and poverty alleviation.

     

    Michael Bloomberg 

    Source of Wealth: Bloomberg LP

    Donation: $12.7 billion

    Former New York City mayor and Bloomberg LP founder gives monetary donations to support social causes such as climate change, gun safety, and public health. He has pledged to donate $1.8 billion to John Hopkins University, his alma mater.

     

    Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates

    Source of Wealth: Microsoft

    Donation: $33.4 billion

    Although divorced, the Gates’ are still working together to continue the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2020, the foundation funded COVID-19 vaccine research. Their donations support global healthcare, poverty alleviation, education, and access to information technology.

     

    George Soros

    Source of Wealth: Hedge funds

    Donation: $18.1 billion

    George Soros founded the Open Society Foundations to support causes like economic equity, human rights, justice reform, and journalism. He pledged $500 million to Bard College, a liberal arts school he has connections.

     

    Walt Disney

    Source of Wealth: The Walt Disney Company

    Donation: $348++ million

    Walt Disney focuses charitable giving on increasing access and opportunity, protecting wildlife, and improving the living and health conditions of children with serious illnesses. The company intends to direct more than 50% of its annual philanthropic efforts to support underrepresented communities.

     

    Oprah Winfrey

    Source of Wealth: Media and Business Empire

    Donation: $214.7+ million

    Oprah has quite an interesting story among famous philanthropists. Oprah embodies the term “self-made” because she grew up extremely poor but eventually became a successful celebrity, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist. She founded Oprah’s Angel Network, raising millions of dollars every year. Oprah also values education and established the Oprah Winfrey Leadership for Girls in South Africa to mentor young girls.

     

    Mackenzie Scott

    Source of Wealth: Amazon

    Donation: $12.5 billion

    Mackenzie Scott is an American novelist and philanthropist. Since the dissolution of her marriage to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, she has been giving away her fortune at speeds unlike anything ever seen from any billionaire in the present time. She has donated to over 1,250 organizations in less than two years. Her contributions are towards climate change, education, and Ukraine relief efforts.

     

    Jeff Bezos

    Source of Wealth: Amazon

    Donation: $184.8 billion

    Bezos announced in 2021 that he would donate $1 billion. $443 million was allocated to environmental organizations from The Bezos Earth Fund, $100 million to former president Barack Obama’s foundation, and $96 million to the Bezos Day One Fund, which addresses homelessness. He also gave a $200 million gift to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

     

    My Philanthropy Efforts

    Having learned about all these wealthy and influential people, you might think that only society’s richest can make a difference and create an impact. But in reality, philanthropy goes beyond donating large sums of money. You can share your time, skills, and knowledge for a social cause that’s close to your heart.

    That’s precisely what I did. Helping children and families living in poverty has always been my passion. I volunteered as a mentor for The Prince’s Trust, where I guided the youth in their new business ventures. I also dedicated my time and energy to the LA Food Bank, a nonprofit that gives food to the less fortunate.

    Being a philanthropist is a fulfilling experience. If you want to find out more about my work, let’s talk! Contact me at [email protected]. You can also reach me through my social media accounts.