Business & EconomyThe obscenely rich: How are they helping the world?

The obscenely rich: How are they helping the world?

Bill Gates burns approximately 1,700 liters of fuel per hour while globetrotting in his $70m Gulfstream private jet. But according to him, he shouldn’t be faulted for that.

In an interview with a BBC reporter, Bill Gates maintained that there is nothing wrong or indecent for him to fly around the world on private jets because he’s doing much more than anyone else in mitigating and fighting climate change.

Despite his being accused as a ‘hypocrite’ (for lecturing people on climate change and global warming, yet constantly emitting carbon footprints), he believes that he has helped the world.

As Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his money was used on research and vaccine development for Covid-19. He also – thru the Foundation — has supported 20,000 low-income students of color in the US with university scholarships and has worked to improve sanitation in developing countries.

So, who else who has great wealth is trying to help humanity?

Here is a list of the obscenely rich people

Pierre Omidyar

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Priorities: Poverty alleviation, human rights, education

Net Worth: $21.6 billion – Insanely rich!

The eBay founder’s Omidyar Group contributes to different global causes that cover educational opportunities in Africa and India, and relief for refugees in countries such as South Sudan and Syria. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Omidyar and his wife gave more than $10 million to help address the impact of the crisis, including a $1 million contribution in Hawaii, where they reside. Luminate, the Group’s citizen engagement arm—which has doled out approximately $400 million since its launch—augmented its support for social justice organizations, including the civil rights advocacy organization Color of Change, following the Black Lives Matter protests.

John & Laura Arnold

Priorities: Education, criminal justice, health

Net Worth: $3.3 billion

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Arnold, a former hedge fund manager, and his wife focus on criminal justice, healthcare, and education reform. Their Arnold Ventures has pumped over $57 million into policing initiatives, including a $2 million gift to the University of Cincinnati in 2020 to “test new approaches for policing to reduce violence and cultivate trust between communities and police.” They’ve also put nearly $100 million into programs focused on making prescription drugs cheaper and more accessible, $68 million into higher education initiatives, and $22 million toward reproductive health causes.

Charles “Chuck” Feeney

Priorities: Science, human rights, youth

Net Worth: Under $2 million

This former billionaire whose net worth became less than $2 million, yet, donated in his lifetime $8 billion. While he set out to die broke, he nonetheless met his financial goal. Feeney, who co-founded the wildly successful retail chain Duty-Free Shoppers in 1960, has anonymously given away parts of his fortune. He eventually went public with his “Giving While Living” idea, which influenced Bill Gates and Warren Buffett when they launched the Giving Pledge in 2010. Of his $8 billion in donations, some $3.7 billion went to education, including $1 billion to his alma mater, Cornell. In September 2020, Feeney and his wife Helga closed his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies, after it gave away the last of its assets.

Warren Buffett

Priorities: Health, poverty alleviation – Insanely rich!

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Net Worth: $88.8 billion

The fabled investor’s pursuit to give away over 99% of his fortune continues. So far, he’s contributed more than $40 billion—much of it through annual gifts to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where it’s being put to work on poverty and healthcare initiatives in the U.S. and developing countries. He’s also given billions in stock to the four charities set up by his three children and his late wife. “The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude,” Buffett said in 2010 when establishing The Giving Pledge—an initiative aimed at convincing the world’s billionaires to donate at least half their fortunes to charity—alongside the Gateses. “Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced.”

Michael Bloomberg

Priorities: Climate change, health

Net Worth: $54.9 billion – Insanely rich!

The former New York City mayor and Bloomberg LP co-founder has poured over $11 billion into charitable causes that focus on climate change, gun control, and public health. He’s spent more than $1 billion to curb tobacco use over the last decade, and in 2018 announced a $1.8 billion pledge to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater. Bloomberg Philanthropies has also donated more than $330 million to Covid-19-related programs ranging from medical research to paying for meals of frontline healthcare workers. In September 2021, Bloomberg also announced a $100 million pledge over the next four years to fund scholarships at four historically Black medical schools.

George Soros

Priorities: Democracy, education, antidiscrimination, healthcare

Net Worth: $8.6 billion

Soros owns Open Society Foundations and operates in 120 countries worldwide, focusing most extensively on fostering democracy and protecting voters’ rights, areas where it budgeted $140 million in 2020. With an annual giving of $1.2 billion last year, the foundation’s causes include economic equity, antidiscrimination, human rights, justice reform, and journalism. When Covid-19 hit, it committed $37 million for undocumented immigrants excluded from U.S. federal aid to receive financial assistance. It committed $220 million to support leaders in Black communities across the United States in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan

Priorities: Science, education, criminal justice, election integrity

Net Worth: $90 billion – Insanely rich!

The Facebook founder/CEO and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have mostly focused their recent contributions on two areas — Covid-19 relief and election integrity. From expanding coronavirus testing capacity in the state of California to working with the Gates Foundation to speed up the development of Covid treatments, the couple gave over $100 million to pandemic-related funding in 2020. But that figure is overshadowed by the $400 million that they donated to non-partisan organizations “to ensure voters could cast their ballots safely and securely.”

Leonard Lauder

Priorities: Arts, Science

Net Worth: $22 billion – Insanely rich!

The elder son of makeup connoisseur Estee Lauder, Leonard Lauder gave his massive Cubist art collection—worth more than $1 billion—to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013. He and his billionaire brother, Ronald, have also helped raise millions for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which they co-chair. The organization has awarded more than $150 million in funding for research on Alzheimer’s disease at biotech companies and academic centers in 19 countries.

Ted Turner

Priorities: United Nations, environment

Net Worth: $2.2 billion

In 1997, the man behind Turner Broadcasting and CNN made a historic $1 billion pledge that launched the United Nations Foundation. While the U.N. cannot directly raise money from philanthropists, the U.N. Foundation can use the funds to support the intergovernmental organization’s peacekeeping, public health, and environmental activities across the world. Turner, who has donated at least $300 million to other causes including land, water, and species conservation through his own foundation, has said his U.N. contribution “is the best investment I’ve ever made.”

You’re not like anyone on this list? So, you think you can’t help? You’re definitely wrong. Even without a lot of cash, you can still do good for the world. How? Be a good citizen. That’s all it takes.

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