Charity can be the smallest, kind gesture. It doesn’t necessarily mean giving away millions of dollars. However, we’d be missing an interesting subject to skip discussing the biggest philanthropists of our time.
Chuck Feeney is one of our favourite philanthropists. He made his fortune from an empire of Duty Free Shoppers network of stores. As he retired he vowed to give away his fortune and die broke. He has donated $8billion to charity during his “Giving While Living” ambition. Perhaps most admirably, Chuck Feeney gave away his billions anonymously, seeking no fame or gratitude for his gifts.
His generosity inspired Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to set up Giving Pledge in 2010. Giving Pledge urges the world’s wealthiest people to donate at least half their fortunes before their deaths. It is far more gratifying to see the impact of a donation rather than waiting til after death! Chuck has said as much and we believe him.
$14.7billion is a huge amount of money, and Warren Buffet has given it away to charity over the last 5 years. He is the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway which was originally a group of textile mills. It has expanded over the years to include GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, Dairy Queen, Duracell and others. He has pledged to give away 99% of his wealth to philanthropy. In 2020 Warren Buffet’s net worth is reported as 86.2billion USD. Fun fact: Warren Buffet eats McDonalds for breakfast! So even if you don’t have billions in the bank, you can still dine out like a billionaire.
Bill & Melinda Gates
One of the most globally well known wealthy couples have given away $9.9billion over the same 5 year span. The subject of their philanthropy is largely around poverty and health. Their involvement in virtually eradicating polio is well documented. Bill and Melinda have also aided women by providing contraceptive services to 120 million people.
You’ve probably heard other reports on donations they have made too. Their foundation continues to give to charity and help those in poverty.
$32 billion in charitable donations have been made by George Soros. He primarily supports democratic and human rights organisations. In 2020 George Soros’ networth is reportedly 8.6billion USD. How did he become rich? He is a wall street tycoon, and chairman of Soros Fund Management. Famously he bet against (shorted) the GBP in 1992, earning 1 billion dollars in profits for his hedge fund. He is the founder and chair of Open Society Foundations, a network of projects and foundations spread across more than 100 countries.
His philanthropy started in 1979 when he gave scholarships to black South African students living under apartheid. He also formed the Central European University after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mr Soros has been very vocal on the damaging effect of the war on drugs, being worse than the drugs themselves. He has played a key role in promoting USA’s medical marijuana movement and same sex marriages. A lot of wealthy people could learn a lot about charity from George Soros!