Many people of significant wealth use their vast resources to help others, some seeing it as their duty to use the platform they have created for themselves to help others in less fortunate positions. Whilst some stick to just making the odd donation here and there, others take it to the next level by trying to improve society, advancing AI, looking for solutions to disease and so on.
Below, we look at 5 of the most interesting entrepreneur/philanthropists to follow.
1. Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is considered to be one of the most successful investors in the world, with his success proved by Forbes, who values his net worth at $86billion. Buffett has claimed to give away 99% of his personal fortune to philanthropic causes, having already donated $46million+ to various causes since 2000.
After his late wife’s death in 2004, Buffett set up the Susan Thomas Buffett foundation, which has donated tens of millions to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion Federation. He is also an avid supporter of Bill Gates’ foundation, which aims to advance technology and reduce poverty.
2. Tony Hawk
Tony Hawk may be retired now, but he grew his personal brand to such success in the late 20th century to bring the sport of Skateboarding into the mainstream. This success gave him the platform to set up the Tony Hawk Foundation, which aims to improve less fortunate societies, with a strong focus on youth empowerment.
The foundation has been able to award thousand dollars worth of grants to skateparks all across America, in the hope that investing and improving these recreational areas will encourage young people to be active in positive industries, rather than turning to gangs and crime.
3. Tej Kohli
Entrepreneur Tej Kohli made his wealth in the tech and real estate industries, giving him a platform to launch the Tej Kohli Foundation. The Foundation focuses on ‘visionary projects which aim to transform lives and change the world,’ with huge support given to the AI and health industries.
His latest project, the future bionics program, aims to substantially improve the lives (and confidence) of young people with disabilities. It does this by converting electrical signals generated by a user’s muscles into controlling the ‘Hero arm’, which allows the user much more functionality than normal prosthetics.
4. Mark Zuckerberg
The 34-year-old founder of Facebook amassed his great personal worth through his social networking site, which has given him not only the resources to make a difference, but has also put him in connection with influential people that can help him to make a difference. He and his wife have set up the Chan Zuckerberg initiative, which aims to advance human potential and to promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy.
Zuckerberg is also known to have made a large donation to schools in Newark, after the state was ordered to take over all of the schools in the area.
5. Michael Bloomberg
The founder of Bloomberg LP and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg is also among the richest billionaires in the world. Bloomberg is regularly in the Forbes top 10 richest billionaires list, due to the success of his software and data firm. This fortune has led to him setting up Bloomberg Philanthropies, which works on a number of projects, including environmental, educational and public health initiatives, with a focus on improving social aspects for a number of people globally.
Social responsibility is important, but businesses (and individuals) cannot be responsible unless they are initially profitable. Therefore, it takes a special type of individual to be successful in their field, before having the humility to attempt to help others, such as the inspiring examples above.