Billionaires are not all stingy, just think of Philantropist Andrew Carnegie or Bill Gates. And while 99% of the rich are not yet ready to donate some of their massive wealth, there is a group of wealthiest people in the world who donate more than half their fortune to charitable organizations.
These charity magnates come from all different sectors of activity, including oil, retail, manufacturing, banking, real estate and pharmaceuticals. They also come from all over the world, and together have a net worth just under $ 70 billion. They prove that a business man can also have a big heart.
BILL GATES: THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN THE MICROBIAL THREAT
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 1st.
- Fortune: $ 79.2 billion.
- Donations: $ 1.5 billion in 2014 (through its foundation)
Bill Gates is a pioneer in this field, spearheading philanthropy among billionaires. Because the motto of its foundation, created with his wife Melinda, is “every human life has the same value”, the founder of Microsoft invests his money in all spheres of humanitarian work: agricultural development, education and poverty. But his main area of focus is health: he is the first spending sector of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which particularly funds the supply of vaccines against polio, pneumonia, malaria, etc. It also gave $ 50 million to UN agencies and international organizations to fight Ebola in 2014.
WARREN BUFFETT: THE BELIEVE IN HIS PAIRS
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 3rd
- Fortune: $ 72.7 billion
- Donations: $ 2 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013
This business man encourages other billionaires to be generous. In 2010, Warren Buffett launched The Giving Pledge, an operation calling on billionaires around the world to donate at least half of their fortune as a philanthropist, either during or after their death. 129 billionaires have since joined the initiative. Among them are Michael Bloomberg, Pierre Omidyar and John Arnold.
PIERRE OMIDYAR: BELIEVES IN MAN’S ABILITY TO COPE
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 168th
- Fortune: $ 8 billion
- Donations: $ 180 million in 2014
Pierre Omidyar believes in man’s ability to cope: His HopeLab foundation helps teenagers with cancer to understand their illness in order to better fight it. Its values of self-made man and the confidence it places in the market are its two pillars: it believes that the economy can create opportunities to improve the lives of all and invests in companies with a social profile in the least developed countries. The objective? Giving disadvantaged people the tools to succeed financially. One of its other foundations, Ulupono initiative, promotes local agriculture, renewable energies and waste reduction in Hawaii.
LILIANE BETTENCOURT: WHO WOULD LIKE TO PAY MORE TAXES
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 10th
- Fortune: $ 40.1 billion
- Donations: According to Les Echos, Liliane Bettencourt paid a total of 760 million euros to charities, representing 5% of her patrimony (given in 2013).
Liliane Bettencourt has given works of all kinds, especially in the field of health. She signed with fifteen other French very high income people, a particularly noted forum in the Nouvel Obs in August 2011. What was the forum about? An increase in their own taxes. In the middle of the economic crisis, these great businessman has pleaded: “We, businessmen, financiers, professionals or wealthy citizens, wish to create an exceptional contribution that would affect taxpayers. The most valued French among the signatories are the late Christophe de Margerie, former CEO of Total, and Maurice Lévy, CEO of Publicis.
BERNARD ARNAULT: WHO BELIEVE IN ART
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 13th
- Fortune: $ 37.2 billion
- Donations: more than 100 million euros for its foundation
Some advocate a history of religion (Protestantism that invites its faithful to be generous), others believe that the French are simply more discreet about their gifts. Yet a form of philanthropy is spreading in France: that of investing in art. Bernard Arnault, patron of LVMH, became a sponsor by opening the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, which brings together works of art and culture. The objective? Support the State in its role of promoting culture. The museum will return to the city of Paris within 55 years.
GEORGE MITCHELL: FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
- Place in the Forbes classification: Not available
- Fortune: $ 2 billion (in 2013, before his death)
- Donations: $ 750 million in 2013
George Mitchell is a paradox: this business man is the inventor of the hydraulic fracturing techniques of Shale gas, today particularly controversial. Yet his preferred field of philanthropy is undoubtedly the environment. Its foundation, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, focuses on issues related to sustainable development, land-based water issues, renewable energy, etc. Above all, in the final years of his life, he researched ways to counter the harmful effects of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and campaigned for strict government regulation of this technology.
JOHN ARNOLD (AND HIS WIFE LAURA): FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JUSTICE
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 714th
- Fortune: $ 2.6 billion
- Donations: $ 218.43 million in 2014
One of the major areas of action of the Laura & John Arnold Foundation is justice. The billionaire couple wants to reform the American justice system so that it is fairer and more efficient with the means at its disposal. Their tools? Technology and data analysis. Their mode of action? Work in collaboration with experts and local jurisdictions, with the aim of developing innovative approaches to justice.
GEORGE SOROS: WHO BELONGED TO DEMOCRACY
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 29th
- Fortune: $ 24.2 billion
This Philantropist would have spent, according to the calculations of the American magazine Worth, 2 billion dollars to its foundations present in more than 30 countries. In 2010, this business man was the largest donor in the world.
Area of specialization? Democracy. When he founded the Open Society Foundations in 1993, George Soros set out to promote the establishment of democracy in developing countries. Its foundation not only helped the countries of the former Soviet Union, but also South America during the democratic transitions of the 1990s. It also works against corruption and human rights abuses, notably by financing the organization Human Rights Watch.
LARRY PAGE AND SERGEY BRIN: FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN DIGITALIZATION
- Places in the Forbes ranking: 19th and 20th
- Fortunes: $ 29.7 billion for the former, $ 29.2 billion for the
- Donations: $ 177.3 million for the first, $ 382.78 million for the second (in 2014)
Besides the various gifts they make through their respective associations, the founders of Google also have a vocation to change the world through the Internet. According to them, an expanded access to the Internet would allow a facilitated information flow, and thus a better world. Their plan? Place balls 15 meters in diameter at 20 kilometers of altitude that allow connection to a distance of up to 40 kilometers. The device would address the problems of terrestrial networks in order to provide an internet connection in the remotest and poorest areas of the world.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: FOR THOSE WHO LOVE FISH
- Place in the Forbes ranking: 14th
- Fortune: $ 35.5 billion
- Donations: $ 462 million in 2014
The Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation invests in all areas of humanitarian work – health, education, the environment, etc. But the former Mayor of New York surprised the world of philanthropy when, in January 2014, just after the end of his term, he announced a $ 53 million investment over five years to three conservation NGOs seabed. The initiative, called the Vibrant Ocean Initiative, aims to operate in three countries where fishing is very important, Chile, Brazil and the Philippines, to seek solutions to threats to biodiversity. Michael Bloomberg wants to renovate fishing techniques to make them more environmentally friendly and enable marine populations to reproduce and diversify. Another goal, in filigree, is to meet global food needs.
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