Looking for tips on how to become a philanthropist? It never hurts to look up to most famous philanthropists who are changing the world. Here are 10 of the most famous philanthropists making a difference.
1. BILL GATES
Of all the celebrity philanthropists, Bill Gates is referred to most often. The founder of Microsoft has long made headlines for his charitable donations. Estimated worth $120 billion, Gates has given away over $50 billion over the years to various nonprofits and causes. Also, Gates is someone who realizes that incredibly wealthy people owe it to the world to give back.
Founded in 2000 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “improve the quality of life for individuals around the world”. The foundation has done everything from providing educational resources in Chicago to healthcare support in Nigeria.
2. WARREN BUFFETT
Since the year 2000, Warren Buffett has given more than $46 billion to charity. He is commonly known as one of the world’s biggest philanthropists. As the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett also believed to be worth roughly $79 billion. Buffett has given portions of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, and also the NoVo Foundation among many others.
Not only has this famous philanthropist given away a substantial chunk of his wealth, but he has also helped put in place a charge for other ultra-rich individuals to do the same. In 2010, Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates launched The Giving Pledge, urging billionaires to publicly dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
3. OPRAH WINFREY
Oprah Winfrey is perhaps one of the most impressive of the world’s top celebrity philanthropists because she truly fits the term “self-made.” After growing up in a poor household in Mississippi and enduring sexual abuse, she still managed to overcome the many obstacles she faced and find major success. Not only has Winfrey brought to light the needs of people around the globe through her talk show and reporting endeavors, but she’s donated millions of dollars through the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. Her foundation took on most of the responsibilities of the Angel Network and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, contributing more than $140 million to The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
As a philanthropist, she’s also supported causes like Time’s Up, N Street Village, and the Museum of African American History and Culture.
4. MICHAEL JORDAN
You probably know Michael Jordan as one of the most talented NBA players of all time, but he has transcended that role to become one of the most influential celebrity philanthropists in the nation. Since becoming a majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Jordan has helped the team give away more than $3 million to several causes, including those related to the military, education, and feeding the hungry.
As a personal philanthropist, he’s made multimillion-dollar donations to Friends of the Children, donated $2 million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts, and has served as Make-A-Wish’s Chief Wish Ambassador since 2008. Jordan has shown that he understands lifelong growth is possible and continues to grow by contributing outside himself to make a big difference in the lives of others.
5. MARK ZUCKERBERG
Mark Zuckerberg found success at a young age by creating a website in college that would later become Facebook. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have pledged to give away 99% of their wealth to charity for their lifetimes. Currently, that’s around $46 billion, making them some of the biggest philanthropists on the planet. Together they created the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which aims to provide equal opportunities for people while unlocking human potential.
By providing funding to science, justice, and education initiatives, the Chan-Zuckerberg family plans to make a world of difference. Given their large personal and professional net worth, it’s likely they’ll stay on top of the famous philanthropist list for many years into the future.
6. SERENA WILLIAMS
Serena Williams is a superstar on the court, but she’s just as big of a star when it comes to philanthropic endeavors. She and her sister Venus opened The Yetunde Price Resource Center in their hometown of Compton, named after their sister who was a victim of gang violence. The Center creates resources for Compton community members and promotes healing and resiliency for locals. Serena also sells her daughter’s baby clothing on Poshmark and donates proceeds to the Williams Sisters Fund, which uses the money for violence prevention, education, and athletic engagement in the inner city.
7. J.K. ROWLING
When you think of wildly successful authors, J.K. Rowling always comes to mind. The Harry Potter writer has captivated people all over the world with her spellbinding characters and magical world-building. She also comes to mind as one of the world’s high-impact famous philanthropists. From books, movies, theme parks, and merchandise sales, Rowling quickly rose to billionaire status.
Rowling is now worth closer to $60 million and has become a philanthropic role model. Her global charity Lumos, named for a spell in the wizarding series, aims to help children who have been wrongfully separated from their families and placed in orphanages.
8. DIANE VON FURSTENBERG
Among the most glamorous philanthropists is an iconic designer and businesswoman Diane von Furstenberg. The fashion designer responsible for the creation and popularity of the wrap dress, von Furstenberg has become one of the most famous philanthropists in the fashion industry. She and her husband have pledged to give over $1 billion in charitable contributions. As the director of The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation, this famous philanthropist has already helped generate millions of dollars to help organizations in the public spaces, community building, education, arts, human rights, and environmental sectors.
Cuban-American rap superstar Pitbull knows the power of music and happens to be one of the high-profile most famous philanthropists in the world. His philanthropic efforts helped create the Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM) in Little Havana to give opportunities to disadvantaged youth in Miami. Recently, he made plans to expand SLAM into seven other locations including Las Vegas and Atlanta.
The entertainment mogul has also inducted into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame for his support of the Miami Children’s Foundation. He is also an avid supporter of the Imaginate Foundation that provides resources for low-income families in the Miami area. “Mr. Worldwide,” aka Pitbull could just as easily be “Mr. Philanthropist.”
10. GEORGE SOROS
Hedge fund manager George Soros landed on the Most Famous Philanthropists list by transferring the bulk of his wealth – over $23 billion – to his charitable organization, the Open Society Foundations. That’s far from his only contribution, however. He’s been giving charitably since 1979 and truly knows the importance of never-ending contribution. His international group of charities works in more than 100 different countries. It also donates time, talent, and money to projects involving public health, refugee relief, and scholarships for underprivileged children.