While it is possible to be a philanthropist even with a small wealth, it is even much easier to become one as a company executive, tycoon, celebrity, or an inheritor of a large business empire. Being wealthy is not just a showcase of one’s power and influence in the world of business (and even politics), but also a massive opportunity to help the deprived and rebuild lives. But among these ultra-rich individuals, who among them are the most charitable? Here are the top five:
For years, the planet’s wealthiest man has been among the top philanthropists in the world. In 2015 alone, he donated $1.3 billion to charity, with lifetime donations totaling to $31.5 billion at that point. The Microsoft founder established his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 and its endowment was more than $44 billion at the end of 2014, making it the biggest transparently operated private foundation in the world. It aims to eradicate poverty and improve healthcare on a global scale.
An investing legend and top-notch entrepreneur, Warren Buffett has pledged to donate most of his wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011, the Oracle of Omaha was one of the authors of the Giving Pledge, an initiative that encourages ultra-rich individuals and families to give away a large slice of their wealth to charitable causes.
One of India’s wealthiest people, Azim Premji works hard to reform India’s education and skills development systems. The outsourcing mogul has donated a huge portion of his wealth to improve schools in his country and funded a university that awards degrees in teacher training.
For this Hong Kong-based magnate, giving is his ‘third son.’ In fact, he has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support philanthropic endeavors. His charity organization, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, promotes social progress by supporting projects that improve access to quality education, enhance medical services, encourage cultural diversity, and advocate community involvement. He thinks of his organization as “one of the ideas [he is] most proud of.”
A tech genius and certainly among the most impressive millennial success stories, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to donate 99 percent of his wealth to charity in his lifetime. The Facebook founder has been very active in healthcare-related endeavors. He donated $25 million in the fight against Ebola and around $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital. Of course, education and technological innovation are also among the focus areas of his philanthropic activities.