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6 Not So Famous Philanthropists You Should Know
Philanthropy is an important part of society, and many well-known individuals have made significant contributions to charitable causes throughout history. However, there are also many lesser-known philanthropists who have made a big impact on their communities and the world.
These individuals come from a range of backgrounds and have supported a variety of causes, but they all share a common desire to make a positive impact on the world.
- A philanthropist is a person who donates their time, money or resources to charitable causes with the goal of improving the well-being of others or society as a whole
- Philanthropy in our society today is important because it helps in addressing social issues, promotes innovation, encourages giving, fosters the spirit of collaboration and helps to address gaps in public funding
- Some of the great philanthropists that you should know about are: Azim Premji, Gordon Moore, Hansjörg Wyss, James Simons, Pierre Omidyar, Ray Dalio
The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning, financial management, and real estate here. More on disclaimers here.
Who is a Philanthropist?
A philanthropist is a person who donates their time, money or resources to charitable causes with the goal of improving the well-being of others or society as a whole. Philanthropy can take many forms, such as supporting non-profit organizations, funding research in both developed and developing countries, providing scholarships or contributing to disaster relief efforts.
Philanthropists often have a strong desire to make a positive impact on the world and use their resources to support causes that align with their personal values and beliefs. They may also use their influence and networks to raise awareness and encourage others to contribute to charitable causes.
Philanthropy has a long history, and many individuals and families have made significant contributions to charitable causes throughout the centuries. Some well-known philanthropists include Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tom Joyner, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, MacKenzie Scott, among others.
Why is Philanthropy Important?
Addressing social issues
Philanthropy provides critical funding and resources for addressing social issues such as poverty, inequality, education and public health. Philanthropists can support non-profit organizations, research institutions and other groups working to improve the well-being of individuals and communities.
It can support research and development in areas such as science, technology and the arts, allowing for the creation of new ideas and solutions that can benefit society as a whole.
Philanthropy can inspire others to give back and support charitable causes. When people see the impact that philanthropic giving can have, they may be more likely to donate their own time, money or resources to causes that they care about.
It can bring together individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds and sectors to work together towards common goals such as human rights. By facilitating collaboration and partnerships, philanthropy can promote more effective and efficient solutions to social problems.
Addressing gaps in public funding
Philanthropy can provide funding for causes and initiatives that may not receive support from traditional bodies such as the government or private industry.
Philanthropy plays an important role in addressing social issues and promoting positive change. It is important for many reasons, including:
Famous Philanthropists in History
In the world of philanthropy, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, Oprah Winfrey and John D. Rockefeller are some of the biggest names. Their contributions have been and continue to be impactful in society today. Aside from these big names, there are many more philanthropists who have or continue to use their wealth to positively advance society.
Who is the Greatest Philanthropist of All Time?
Even though Andrew Carnegie passed away almost a century ago, he remains one of the wealthiest people and maybe the most charitable giver in history. Over a period of 2 decades, which fell into the latter part of his life, He gave away over 90% of his wealth; an estimated lifetime donations of 268+ billion dollars.
His generous donations were primarily focused on education, which led him to establish universities, schools and nearly 3000 free public libraries across the English-speaking world. Carnegie's philanthropic efforts also extended to supporting the construction of civic institutions, 7000 church organs and his most famous legacy, Carnegie Hall.
Who is Best Known for Philanthropy?
Besides the aforementioned names, these people are also notable for philanthropic activities:
- Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait – founder of Direct Aid, a charity organization.
- Abdul Sattar Edhi – co-head of the Edhi Foundation in Pakistan.
- Achyuta Samanta – founder of the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)
But there are important trailblazers in philanthropy that most haven't heard of that you should know.
Great Philanthropists That You Should Know
Azim Premji, a native of India, is responsible for growing the IT firm Wipro to its current status as one of the global leaders in the software industry. Now a billionaire with a net worth of around $9 billion, he became the first Indian and third non-American to join the Giving Pledge, initiated by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.
Premji said that being rich “did not thrill” him, so he started his foundation in 2000 to facilitate the universalization of primary education. The foundation offers grants across India on gender issues, environmental problems, curriculum reform, policy and teacher education.
Gordon Moore was the co-founder of Intel. He and his wife Betty started the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation with $5 billion in 2000. The organization focuses on environmental conservation, scientific research and patient care in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Before funding a program, they verify that the foundation’s assistance can make a difference, if outcomes are measurable. They also assess what can be impacted positively in addition to the program in consideration.
Mr Moore passed away on March 24, 2023.
Hansjörg Wyss is the founder of Synthes USA, a medical device manufacturer that makes internal screws and plates for broken bones. A native of Switzerland, he joined the Giving Pledge in 2013 and has donated billions in aid. This includes giving millions to universities to encourage medical research.
He also has a passion for protecting land in the American West, which he now calls home. In 2013, he donated $4.25 million to the Trust for Public Land to protect 58,000 acres of land in Wyoming’s Hoback Basin from development. In recent years, he has pledged to donate $1 billion to various conservation efforts, according to the government of Switzerland.
Plus, he’s invested in reducing inequality by funding women’s initiatives and ensuring the humane treatment of refugees and immigrants.
James Simons worked for the defense department cracking codes before teaching at MIT, Harvard, and Stony Brook University. After leaving academia in 1978, he started the Renaissance Technologies Corporation, which is one of the most successful hedge funds to use quantitative trading, a method that relies on mathematics to determine investment strategies.
He gives generously to his family’s organization, the Simons Foundation, as well as the Nick Simons Institute, the non-profit Math for America, and many other causes. The Simons Foundation focuses on education and research in math and science, and the Nick Simons Institute funds rural health-care initiatives in Nepal.
Meanwhile, Math in America supports professional development for STEM teachers throughout the country.
Pierre Omidyar founded eBay in 1995. And along with his wife Pam, he also began a number of organizations that are now classified collectively under the Omidyar Group.
These initiatives include the Democracy Fund, which aims to support the democratic process; and Humanity United, which brings new approaches to seemingly impossible-to-solve world problems.
The Omidyar Network also funds organizations that work on education, emerging tech, financial inclusion, governance and citizen engagement, and property rights. Pierre recently gave nearly $270 million in stock to various undisclosed charities and organizations.
Ray Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates, which became the largest hedge fund in the world in 2012. By 2014, its assets numbered $160 billion. Ray and his wife, Barbara, began the Dalio Foundation in 2003 as a way to give to causes that they support. It focuses on education, health, community development, and the environment, with a particular interest in nontraditional projects, such as supporting research and education around transcendental meditation. Starting with $3.8 million in grants in 2003, the family has given over $1 billion in funding to the foundation.
The Bottom Lin
These philanthropists have a large amount of influence in their communities. But that doesn’t mean that people with less money can’t have an impact, as well. I donate hundreds of dollars each year to causes that I know are important. And even you can only afford to give $5, even that small amount can make a difference.
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