What would you do if you won that big jackpot? If you were lucky enough to hit all seven EuroMillion numbers or spin your way to a mega-jackpot, playing one of online gaming’s multi-million dollar jackpot progressive slots?
Would you spread the love, share the jackpot, look after family, friends, and your local community. Would you put the final tiles on the church roof, sponsor the school nativity play, or just lift up the mattress, loosen a few floorboards, and stash your cash away?
Today, we are looking at the billionaires who share the loot; the super-rich, happy to spread the fat and make the world a better place. Do they have a guilty conscience or are they genuine, golden-hearted, philanthropists with an eye on the bigger – human – picture. We start the list off with the selfless souls who gave (nearly) all of it away…
1. Charles Francis Feeney
Chances are you have never heard of Mr Feeney. Chuck Feeney made his fortune in retail; pioneering the concept of duty-free shopping. The Irish-American businessman founded the Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest private foundations in the world.
Feeney tops the list for two reasons. First: in the course of his life, he has given away more than $8 billion. Secondly: he did it all in secret, until a business dispute forced him to reveal his identity. Feeney’s money has funded Vietnamese hospitals, universities, and educational institutions.
The anonymous donor
Feeney has given nearly all his fortune away. He currently lives in a rented San Francisco apartment with an estimated $2 million remaining in the bank. He gave his last $7 million away in 2016. His generosity score is 100% – pretty much all of it!
2. Sulaiman Al-Rajhi
This is a tale of riches to rags. Al-Rajhi founded one of the largest Islamic banks in the world. In 2011, Forbes estimated his wealth at $7.7 billion; making him the 120th richest person in the world at the time. In the same year, he gave nearly all of his fortune to charity.
3 Warren Buffett
One of the richest and one of the most generous: Warren Buffett is the man who proved you can get rich without making anything. Considered the world’s most successful investor, Buffett made his fortune investing in business. After nearly 70 years, Buffett’s fortune was estimated at about $62 billion in 2009. He was the richest man on earth.
A generous Buffett
In 2006, Buffett vowed to donate 85% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To date, Buffett has already given away $21.5 billion. Making him the world’s most charitable individual in terms of donation value. The sum represents about 35 per cent of his net worth.
4 Bill Gates
Microsoft business magnate Bill Gates was the richest man on the planet for many years; now runner-up to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. These days, Gates spends most of his time running the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The foundation issues grants for initiative and programs across the globe that focus on agricultural development, education, poverty, and health. Since its inception, the foundation has donated nearly $30 billion.
Software with a soft heart
Gates was inspired by an article highlighting the problem of polluted water, in India, in 1997, concluding: “if life happens to bless you, you should use those gifts as well and as wisely as you can.” The foundation now also enjoys support from Warren Buffett and Gates is now committed to the philanthropic work full time.
5 Soros, Zuckerberg, Bloomberg, Bezos, Musk, and Others
It seems a little unfair to single out only the top philanthropists when there are so many more successful business leaders and innovators who are happy to share their wealth. Elon Musk innovates to improve the environment; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos champions neuroscience and press freedom; Zuckerberg promotes equality and human potential.
Philanthropy comes in many shapes and sizes. The truth is: most of these business behemoths can spare the money. If you are lucky enough to hit one of life’s jackpots, it feels good to share the spoils. First things first: win that jackpot!