As the news have come across, some of the wealthiest people in the world like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg all have committed to giving their children relatively modest inheritances and to giving almost all of their wealth to charitable causes. Among the top four richest billionaires, Jeff Bezos is the latest to establish a charitable foundation.
The world’s richest people are dedicated to giving a large part of their earnings
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have made The Giving Pledge
Furthering their commitment to philanthropy, Bill and Melinda Gates created the Giving Pledge alongside their friend and fellow billionaire-philanthropist Warren Buffett in 2010. Buffett is well known for his promise to give away more than 99% of his wealth, which is currently $82.1 billion.
He is a constant donor of charitable gifts to his foundations and the foundations for each of his three children. Of the top billionaires, Buffett is leading in the percentage of wealth he’s giving away.
Bill Gates: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Last year, Bill Gates donated $4.6 billion worth of Microsoft shares, which comes at around 5% of his $94.9 billion fortune. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been Gates’ primary focus since he left his day job at Microsoft in 2008 and stepped down as chairman of the board in 2014. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, the foundation has granted $41.3 billion in charitable donations since its establishment in 2000.
Mark Zuckerberg: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
At 34, Facebook’s CEO is the youngest of the super-rich, and Zuckerberg also seems to be following the playbook of the super-rich. Buffett, Gates and Zuckerberg have all committed to giving their children modest inheritances relative to their massive fortunes.
Zuckerberg’s money will largely go to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which he founded with his wife, Priscilla Chan. The LLC is committed to “supporting science through basic biomedical research and education through personalized learning,” and the couple pledged 99% of their Facebook shares — worth about $45 billion when their daughter was born in 2015, or a little more than half his current net worth of $82.1 billion.
Jeff Bezos: Bezos Day One Fund
Previously, Jeff Bezos’ attitude toward charitable giving has always been a mistery, given that he never publicly discussed what he would do with his money. But in January 2018, he and his wife, MacKenzie, donated $33 million to TheDream.us, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children.
Then, on Sept. 13, 2018, Bezos announced via Twitter the establishment of the Bezos Day One Fund.
The Amazon CEO said that to start, $2 billion in funding would focus on:
- Funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families
- Creating a net work of full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in low-income communities
For Bezos, who has a net worth of $164 billion according to Bloomberg, $2 billion is just 1.2% of his wealth. He is the only one of the top four American billionaires who has not signed the Giving Pledge.
Although topping the good will people list in 2018, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has given only a tiny fraction of his $160 billion fortune to philanthropic causes, during 2019, falling far behind fellow billionaires such as Bill and Melinda Gates and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, public records show.
According to the Chronicle‘s list, America’s 50 wealthiest philanthropists gave away a total of $7.8 billion to charitable causes in 2018. This amount was only about half the total in 2017.
One of the main reasons for this was a relative lack of contributions from two mega-donors: Gates and Zuckerberg, who respectively gave away $4.78 billion and $2 billion in 2017 but only $138 million and $214 million in 2018 – which was another reason Bezos was able to top the list.