Familiar Faces in Philanthropy

When a member of Forbe’s 400 pledges to give most of his wealth away, a ripple effect occurs, prompting other members of the nation’s richest to follow suit. That is what happened when Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan would be donating 99% of their total wealth to various charitable organizations in their lifetime.

Most people look at the top 400 and think of what intelligent business people they must be to achieve such successes, and they would be right. However, people don’t always consider how charitable most of the 1% are. Zuckerberg is an epitome of a philanthropist, but there are some other notable members of Forbe’s elite list that deserve mention as well.

The CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, holds the title of the number 1 top philanthropist, according to Forbes. To date, Buffett has donated over $34 billion, about 28% of his total net worth, so far and does not plan to stop anytime soon. He donates every year to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many other charitable organizations.

As chairman of the world’s largest private charitable foundation, it is no surprise that Bill Gates ranks as the second most philanthropic person, right behind longtime best friend, Warren Buffett, according to Forbe’s. Bill and his wife Melinda, along with Buffett, started The Giving Pledge in 2010, committing billionaires who sign it to give away more than half of their worth. Gates has lived up to this commitment and is still very involved in the foundation.

Oprah Winfrey’s claim to fame may have been sparked through her daytime talk show, but the television star quickly became one of the most popular ‘self-made’ billionaires. With this fortune, Winfrey has not only donated over $400 million to various charitable causes, but she has also created the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Winfrey primarily focuses her philanthropic contributions to organizations that aid women and children.

Former Mayor of New York and co-founder of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg is very involved in various philanthropic organizations. Some of his most passionate causes that he has donated to are that of public health and safety efforts, and education support, to name a few. Bloomberg has also donated a record-breaking $1.8 billion to his first alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to provide the opportunity for students to complete their studies there without the fear of affordability. To date, Bloomberg has donated over $6 billion and his organization Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated close to $700 million.

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.info

Student-Run Philanthropy

Philanthropic events are lead by people of all ages and groups, from successful billionaire entrepreneurs, to non-profit organizations, to young girls selling $4 boxes of cookies. Many educational benefits pair with participating in philanthropic activities and events, especially for students. In many ways, student-run philanthropies are becoming very popular at all ages, from elementary and high school to higher educational institutes.

At a young age, students can join organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and learn fundamental life skills. In addition to practicing these skills and lessons, the scouts heavily partake in fundraising through various outlets to raise money for their organizations, as well as to help support local foundations. The delicious cookies in exchange for a donation make it all the more worthwhile as well.

In some high schools, students have the opportunity to participate in grant programs for local organizations, as well as fundraisers for scholastic clubs and athletics. These activities can directly impact students at a young age and provide them the experience to learn about working in teams, building creativity, and the effects of fundraising and charity on a community. They also serve as a great way to build relationships between the schools and the local communities in which they reside.

One perennially trending topic that is helping to raise money and awareness for important causes is student-run dance marathons. In universities across the United States, students are quite literally dancing their way to supporting great causes, such as cancer research in most cases. Students will collect donations for these dance marathons leading up to the event, in exchange for a pledge to stay awake and dancing for the entire event. In most cases, these dance marathons last 24 hours and include entertainment, music, food, and an ecstatic atmosphere. In addition to being a fun event that students look forward to each year, they tend to raise an incredible amount of awareness and money for their respective causes. In fact, Penn State University’s THON (short for dance marathon) currently holds the record as the world’s largest student-run charity, raising over $150 million towards pediatric cancer research since 1973.

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future, and instilling an understanding and appreciation for philanthropic work in students has many benefits for not only the students and the next generation of workers, but for the greater good as well.  

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.info