The Richest Billionaires in the World Are Giving Their Money Away

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer; at least that’s how the saying goes. But that doesn’t apply to Bill Gates, who is steadily getting poorer. The thing with Bill Gates, however, is that he’s getting poorer by choice. He has become one of the most well-known philanthropists the world has ever seen as he continues to give billions of dollars to charity. You see, forbes Gates has slipped down the billionaire rankings and in the 2011 list published by Forbes on 9 March he only occupies the second slot.

What’s interesting is that Gates is only just ahead of the man who is third on the list, Warren Buffet, who is also well known for his philanthropic tendencies.

According to an article by Reuters (which was published the day before the list was released), apkdnews Gates is currently worth $49 billion. If he wasn’t so keen on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and didn’t feel the need to address global health and education, it’s estimated that he would be worth somewhere in the region of $88 billion. That’s a difference of $28 billion.

Buffet was a philanthropist before he teamed up with Gates to create The Giving Pledge campaign, which encourages the very rich in the US to give away at least 50% of their wealth during their lifetimes or upon their death – to the distress of their heirs one can be sure. home4cloud

But since creating the pledge, Buffet has promised to give away 99% of his fortune to the Gates Foundation. To join the pledge billionaires are asked to write a letter outlining their motivations and publish it online on the Giving Pledge website.

As might be expected in a landscape dominated by men, most of the billionaire philanthropists are of the male persuasion. But there are two very well known female faces among the giving elite. J.K. Rowling is arguably the most famous author in the world, not to mention one of the richest. As she knows what it’s like to be single parent struggling to make ends meet, the two organisations she supports are close to her heart: Volant Charitable Trust, which she helped to set up and which aims to help women and children affected by poverty and social discrimination; and One Parent Families, which educates, supports and advocates for single parents.

Then, of course, there is Oprah Winfrey, perhaps the most powerful and influential woman in the United States – ever. Winfrey is a media mogul along similar lines as Rupert Murdoch, with the key difference being that she is very vocal about doing good. According to Business Pundit, Ms Winfrey gives $50 million annually to educate women, children and families; she’s opened a school for girls in South Africa, a youth centre in her hometown in Mississippi and supports her own charity Oprah’s Angel Network.

The chap who occupies the top spot on Forbes’ list, Carlos Slim ($60 billion), doesn’t buy into the charity-giving thing. He’s reported as dismissing such acts as behaving like Santa Claus and insists that more good can be done through job creation and the creation of wealth by investment.

It’s Callahan’s belief that by giving exceptionally large sums of money and lending their support to certain charities and organisations, billionaires are tacitly (and maybe not so tacitly) influencing policies and decisions at the highest level. He would like to see some regulations imposed on large-scale charitable giving, not to discourage the donors, of course, but to ensure that the processes, motivations and results are more transparent and, if necessary, open to public scrutiny.


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