We all know how great giving back feels. Donating, whether it’s time, money or other assets, puts a spring in our step and breeze through our hair. But who are the most philanthropic people in the world? Let’s take a look:
1. Warren Buffet: One of the world’s richest people says he views his money as “claim checks” on society that he can turn into consumption to improve the gross domestic product. In 2006, Buffet pledged stocks worth about $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable contribution of all time. He often auctions himself off for dinner on Ebay, raising close to $1 million dollars per meal. He plans to donate his fortune once he dies, because he believes great wealth should not pass from one generation to the next, but instead should move out into the world to make a more lasting, widespread impact.
2. Bill and Melinda Gates: The founder of Microsoft and grandfather of the tech start-up world, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the wealthiest charity in the world with assets estimated at $34.6 billion. Gates has cited David Rockefeller as a major influence on his philanthropic work and has extensively studied the Rockefeller Family’s charitable pursuits. Gates and his wife Melinda have donated over $28 billion to charity and plan on donating 95% of their fortune when they die.
3. Sir Ka-shing Li: Hong Kong business magnate Ka-Shing Li is the richest man in Asia, with his companies comprising 15% of the market cap on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, Li is best known for leading a no-frills lifestyle and donating about $1.3 billion of his wealth to charity. Most of his donations go to universities around the world, such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the University of California, Berkley, Stanford University and the University of Alberta. He also founded Shantou University near his hometown of Chaozhou. Li’s charitable work has earned him the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the highest honor in Hong Kong, the Order of the British Empire and the Legion of Honor.
4. Chuck Feeney: Baseball executive and businessman, Feeney founded The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest foundations in the world. Atlantic has donated more than $6.2 billion since 1982 to social projects in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. The foundation is the largest funder of ageing and immigration reform in the United States and has given numerous gifts to Feeney’s alma mater, Cornell University. Feeney’s philosophy is “Giving While Living.”
5. George Soros: Hungarian-born business magnate and investor, Soros gave away $8 billion between 1979 and 2011, mainly to peaceful political movements and educational institutions. In the 1970’s, Soros funded black students in South Africa to attend university under apartheid and worked to promote democracy in post-Soviet states. His foundation, Open Society Foundations, helped assist the transition to capitalism in his native Hungary, and gave large funds to Central European University in Budapest. Soros also donated $100 million toward increased Internet access in rural Russian universities and $50 million toward the Millennium Promise. Soros’s political activism has long spurred his charitable work.
These philanthropists have dedicated their lives and fortunes to humanitarian causes throughout the world and can serve as an inspiration to all of us to give back and fuel the causes and institutions in which we most steadfastly believe.
– Jenny Wheeler
FUNDING AREAS: Women's Rights & Civil Liberties, Human Services & Youth, Environment, Global.
OVERVIEW: Susan Sarandon moves her philanthropy through the Susan Sarandon Charitable Foundation, established in 2002. A little over $200,000 has moved out of the foundation annually in recent years, with a trail of grantees receiving modest sums. Sarandon is an outspoken progressive and this is reflected in her philanthropy. She's bankrolled outfits working in areas such as women's rights, civil liberties, human services and more.
WOMEN'S RIGHTS & CIVIL LIBERTIES: Sarandon, through her foundation, has recently supported outfits such as MADRE, "an international women's human rights organization that uses human rights to advance social justice," the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Women Make Movies, a "national nonprofit feminist media arts organization whose multicultural programs provide resources for both users and producers of media by women." She has also funded civil liberties organizations such as the Texas Defender Service, which describes itself as a "team of experienced death penalty attorneys who combat the systemic flaws facing the Texas death penalty." She's funded the NYCLU Foundation, "a comprehensive resource for civil liberties issues," and the Rosenberg Foundation for Children, which "makes grants to aid children in the U.S. whose parents are targeted, progressive activists."
HUMAN SERVICES & YOUTH: She's recently given money to City Harvest, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, Bowery Mission, Coalition for the Homeless, and Ohio Valley Opportunities (OVO), which "develops programs to meet the needs of the elderly, disabled and families with children in three Indiana counties." She's also given to outfits that work with youth such as Reading is Fundamental which "provides free books and literacy resources to economically disadvantaged communities in the United States."
ENVIRONMENT: Sarandon has given environmental support to American Farmland Trust, which works to "stop the loss of productive farmland and promote healthier farming practices in the U.S," Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Amazon Conservation Team, and New York Restoration Project, founded by fellow actress Bette Midler, which "works to create and restore parks and community gardens."
GLOBAL: Sarandon's global giving has gone to Heifer International, "a charity organization working to end hunger and poverty around the world by providing livestock and training to struggling communities," Doctors Without Borders, Water for our World, Grassroots International, SOS Children's Villages, which provides "care, education and health services," Mirembe Project, which "advances human rights and social justice, especially in the global south," and Artists for Peace and Justice, which supports communities in Haiti through programs in education, healthcare, and dignity through the arts." Other recent funds have gone to the now-closed Somaly Mam Foundation, which combated sex trafficking in Cambodia, and the Carter Center, "which fights disease, hunger, poverty, conflict and oppression around the world."
OTHER: Sarandon funds health outfits such as Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and arts outfits such as Chicago's Still Point Theatre and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
LOOKING FORWARD: Sarandon has been clear about her interests, so expect her philanthropy to continue in these areas. What's unclear is if larger streams of money will go to these causes down the line—or just how much money may ultimately be available for philanthropy.
Oprah Winfrey is the most charitable celebrity – by a huge margin – giving away more than $40 million primarily through the Oprah Winfrey Foundation for causes including education and programs for women and children, according to a national philanthropic group.
Colin Kaepernick jersey sales have EXPLODED ... and now he's puttin' his money where his mouth is, again ... by donating 100% of the proceeds he receives from the transactions.
Kaep -- whose #7 San Francisco 49ers jersey is currently the best selling jersey in the NFL -- hit up Instagram and vowed to give every dime of his share of the profit to people in need.
"I wasn't expecting my jersey sales to jump to number one because of this, but it shows the people's belief that we can achieve justice and equality for ALL!"
"The only way I can repay you for the support is to return the favor by donating all the proceeds I receive from my jersey sales back into the communities!"
This is the 2nd time this month Kaepernick has pledged to give away a huge chunk of change. Last week, he announced he'd give $1 MILLION to charity.
It's unclear exactly how much dough Kaep will give away ... but with the jerseys flying off the shelves, it's certain to be another big donation.