There is one investment in the world that would never, ever fail. It is the investment to people in need. It is one fruitful investment where you receive more than what you give, where what you would reap is far greater, far more rewarding than what you have sown. These investments have saved millions of lives in Africa, provided books for children in Bangladesh and offered shelter for street kids in Rwanda. More importantly, it urged people from different nations and races to pay it forward by giving a piece of their selves to the needy, the impoverished and the uneducated.
It is a common knowledge that money makes the world go round. And these people know that with enough funds and a luxury of resources, one could reach out to the ends of the earth and make a difference. They have proven that blessings are more meaningful if it is shared and that giving does not always mean having less, it means gaining more.
1. Warren Buffett (Total Donations: $40,780,000,000)
Who could give up almost his billion dollar wealth for philanthropic cause? Warren Buffett could. In 2006, Buffett shocked the world by pledging more than 99% of his wealth in his lifetime or at death to philanthropy with more than 80% of his fortunes going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That is equivalent to 80% of Berskshire Hathaway class B shares or approximately $31 billion dollars in 2006. This donation is the largest charitable donation in history making Buffett as one of the leaders of philanthrocapitalism. Currently, he is the third wealthiest person in the world with over $ 50 billion net worth.
2. Bill & Melinda Gates ( Total Donations: $28,144,000,000)
Aiming to enhance health care, reduce extreme poverty and expand access to education and information technology, the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation continue to serve the poorest of the poor in and out of United States by offering scholarships, donating vaccines, giving financial grants and funding researches. The foundation has three-grant making programs which include: Global Health Program, Global Development Program and United States Program. Having an endowment of $33.5 billion as of 2009, the foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world.
3. Gordon and Betty Moore (Total Donations: $7,404,000,000)
Philanthropy proved to be a conjugal devotion as Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty established a foundation in September 2000. Focusing in environmental conservation, science and the San Francisco Bay Area, Gordon and Betty Moore donated $600 million to California Institute of Technology, the largest gift ever to an institution of higher education. Through the foundation, they have funded the construction of the world’s largest binocular telescope and committed $100 million for the launching of a nursing school in the University of California.
4. George Soros (Total Donations: $6,401,000,000)
Having been active in his philanthropic efforts since the 1970s, George Soros has given up a part of his wealth for human rights, public health and education; causes he championed for almost thirty years until now. In 2001, he has endowed a whooping $250 million to Budapest’s Central European University, the largest in European higher education. Aside from being involved in philanthropy, Soros is largely involved in politics funding groups that support Democrats in the 2004 election This is an effort to defeat President George W. Bush’s bid for re-election back then.
5. George Kaiser (Total Donations: $2, 522,000,000)
Having a net worth of $9.8 billion, George Kaiser is among the 100 richest people and one of the top philanthropists in the world. His foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, has become the largest community foundation in the United States with $4 billion in assets. Kaiser’s prominent causes include fighting childhood poverty and promoting early childhood education.
6. Eli and Edythe Broad (Total Donations: $2,286,000,000)
Lifelong founders of the Broad Foundations, Eli and Edythe Broad focuses their philanthropic causes towards the culture and the arts and improving K-12 public education. Most of the foundation’s donations are directed to the creation and renovation of museums in the United States notable of which are $60 million endowment the foundation gave the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum’s renovation campaign and $30 million grant for the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Broad Foundations which includes The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation, have assets amounting to $ 2.1 billion.
7. Walton Family (Total Donations: $2,015,000,000)
Charity definitely begins at home as this family with collective assets reaching $83 billion, has been one of the generous families in the United States and the world. Jim, Rob, Alice, Helen and Rob Walton have been a consistent short lister in the Forbes 400 since 2001. After Helen Walton died in April 2007, her wealth would be passed on to charity for the next few years. Their foundation, the Walton Family Foundation focuses in education, environment and Arkansas, their home region. The foundation has invested $157 million for educational reform and $72 million for environmental initiatives.
8. Alfred Mann (Total Donations: $1,735,000,000)
With a foundation in his name, Alfred Mann and his Alfred Mann Foundation is dedicated to bring quality health services and advanced medical technologies to the public. Established in 1985, Mann’s foundation seeks to improve the lives of people in need and to create medical products that are accessible to the masses. Current focus of the foundation includes providing medical innovations and further researches for neuromuscular diseases, diabetes, limb loss and chronic pain.
9. Ted Turner (Total Donations: $1,500,000,000)
Ted Turner’s success story begins in the least expected way---- his father’s untimely death. Committing suicide in 1963, Turner’s father inherited him the $1 million worth Turner Outdoor Advertising. And as they say, the rest is history. Today, Ted Turner is widely known as CNN’s founder, the first dedicated 24-hour news channel. As a philanthropist, he is known for his $ 1 billion gift to support UN causes through his foundation, the United Nations Foundation where he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Also known for his often controversial statements, the media mogul also champions environmental causes founding the Captain Planet Foundation in 1991, Turner Endangered Species Fund in 1997 and the Nuclear Treat Initiative in 2001.
10. Herbert and Marion Sanders (Total Donations: $1,389,000,000)
Herbert and Marion Sanders is one good hearted couple. Founding the Sanders Foundation in 1991, the couple donated the second largest American charitable donation of 2006 amounting to $1.3 billion. Their support has been instrumental in the creation of foundations which include Center for Responsible Lending fighting predatory mortgage lending, the Center for American Progress which is a progressive think tank, and ProPublica which is an investigative reporting newsroom.