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Mackenzie Scott's PhilanthropyMacKenzie Scott, one of the wealthiest women in the world, inherited a 4% stake in Amazon following her divorce from Jeff Bezos in 2019. At the time, the stake held a value of $38 billion, growing to more than $60 billion today. Following her divorce, she signed onto the Giving Pledge, which U.S. investor Warren Buffett, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation established, pledging to give away at least 50% of her wealth to charity or “until the safe was empty.” In contrast to other pledgers, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Buffett, Scott did not wait to live up to her promises. So far, Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy has resulted in $6 billion to 500 organizations in 2020 with a further $2.7 billion in 2021.

Vast Reach

The goal behind Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy is to maximize her impact by donating to charities that other philanthropists often overlook. A $1.68 billion donation in 2020 went toward addressing various social issues. The largest portion ($587 million) of the donation went to racial equity, but a significant amount also went toward economic mobility ($399.5 million), global development ($130 million), functional democracy ($72 million), LGBTQ+ equity ($46 million), empathy and bridging divides ($55 billion), among other issues.

As a result, not only is Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy generous but it also focuses on making the largest impact across a variety of social issues. In particular, in her latest donation of $2.7 billion, she emphasizes giving to more than 700 million people that live in extreme poverty across the globe. The objective was to find solutions with “on-the-ground engagement and diverse engagement.” Therefore, local teams with female leaders and people of color held priority positions.

To name a few, these organizations include Dream a Dream, GiveDirectly and Muso. Specifically, Dream a Dream focuses on empowering children from destitute backgrounds to receive an education and garner skills that will help them thrive in today’s world. GiveDirectly is a platform that provides direct cash transfers to people in need, primarily in African countries, with most people spending the aid on medicine, food, education and entrepreneurial projects. Last but not least, Muso focuses on preventing global deaths that arise from extreme poverty with frequent home visits to patients and access to care clinics. All of these organizations have different strategies on how to battle poverty and alleviate the issues that stem from it, employing diverse teams to enable more creative and effective solutions.

COVID-19 Funds

In addition to donating to poverty-related causes, the focus of Scott’s giving in 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates indicate that $4 billion out of the $6 billion that Scott gave away last year went directly to COVID-related causes. Scott’s donation accounts for about three-quarters of billionaire and high-net-worth individual pandemic-related philanthropy. Scott expresses that the pandemic fostered fresh inequalities in the world’s systems and that she feels compelled to do her part in improving an unjust and often unstable world. Therefore, Scott is not only staying true to her promise but has also become one of the most generous givers in recent years.

A Worthy Cause

MacKenzie Scott’s pledge to give away “until the safe was empty” represents a fresh and positive force to solve social problems that other philanthropists frequently overlook. Mackenzie Scott’s philanthropy is not only generous but also strategic with a focus on on-the-ground strategies and organizations with diverse teams to maximize the impact of her donations. Scott’s donations address racial inequality as well as global poverty and the consequent problems arising from it.

– Max Sidorovitch
Photo: Flickr

Billions to Charities
It is no surprise that Forbes named Charles “Chuck” Feeney the James Bond of Philanthropy. After 38 years, Feeney achieved his lifetime goal: giving away all his $8 billion amassed wealth to charity and being alive to see its impact. When someone donates billions to charities, the impact should be substantial.

Charles “Chuck” Feeney

Chuck Feeney amassed his wealth from establishing a franchise of stores within thousands of airports known as the Duty-Free Shoppers Group. He also launched the General Atlantic, an American growth equity firm. Yet, the man, with this immense fortune lives in a rented San Francisco apartment. Moreover, he has even been found riding public transit. Feeney has credited his life philosophy to the Andrew Carnegie essay, “The Gospel of Wealth.” The essay declares that the millionaire’s sole duty is to give back to the poor. As Feeney donates billions to charities, he certainly obliges. Carnegie’s influence is extremely apparent within Feeney’s life. His coined phrase and mantra in life, “Giving While Living,” is essentially saying that you should give all you can to charity now rather than later. This, which closely resembles the messages behind The Gospel of Wealth.

Atlantic Philanthropies

In the early ’80s, the Duty -Free Shoppers franchise was at its peak. This is when Feeney decided to be the one who donates billions to charities. Without anyone’s knowledge, he secretly handed over all his shares and formed his new foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. Since 1982, the Atlantic Philanthropies has focused on issues of health, social and public policy throughout Australia, Bermuda, Ireland, South Africa, the U.S. and Vietnam. Within these countries, the foundation has addressed many important issues. Among them include facilitating the peace process in Northern Ireland, reducing the number of children without health insurance in the U.S., providing millions with HIV/AIDS medication in South Africa and helping modernize Vietnam’s health care system. While the foundation has officially dissolved recently, Feeney has one last message to relay: “To those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.”

3 Countries Impacted

  1. South Africa: In the early years after Apartheid, Atlantic Philanthropies saw the opportunity to help advance South African society from its previous suppression. During the ’90s, the foundation assisted young black South African attorneys in getting their law degrees. In the 2000s, Atlantic made funds to advance nursing and health services. By the end of 2016, Atlantic Philanthropies had totaled $442 million in investments toward building democratic institutions and organizations. Overall, the foundation brought 2 million South Africans access to HIV medication. Also, it convinced the government to pledge $1 billion toward school improvements. Finally, it increased the number of nurses between 2005 and 2013 by 44%.
  2. Vietnam: The Atlantic Philanthropies have invested $381.5 million towards improving Vietnam’s public health system and renewing old libraries and universities. With Feeney’s contribution of billions to charities, Vietnam modernized its healthcare system, resulting in 9 million citizens receiving better and improved treatment. Further, the foundation focused on efforts that advocated for healthier behaviors. These included the widespread anti-smoking campaign and the passed mandate that forced motorcyclists to wear helmets. Also, in the education sector, Atlantic Philanthropies improved Vietnamese university libraries.
  3. Cuba: In the early 2000s, Cuba’s healthcare, although seen as one of the best worldwide, was suffering from a lack of resources. This, in turn, sparked the Atlantic’s activism. Overall, the foundation invested $66 million into organizations that work toward improving the care and treatment of Cubans. Moreover, these bodies spread knowledge about Cuba’s effective public health practices in nations with impoverished communities.

An Inspiring Message

Feeney’s extreme display of generosity via contributions of billions to various charities has inspired many notable philanthropists and entrepreneurs to do their part to help the less fortunate. An example of wealthy business moguls following in Feeney’s footsteps is the “Giving Pledge.” Warren Buffet and Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge in 2010 as a campaign that seeks to persuade wealthy figures across the world to donate close to half of their wealth before they die.

Maya Falach
Photo: Flickr

Invest in Foreign Aid
The UN has reported that global poverty has reduced by half in the past 20 years, but estimates have determined that 10% of the global population continues to live in poverty. Roughly 736 million individuals live on less than $1.90 a day. With poverty being a multi-faceted issue and having implications ranging from the preservation of life to global economics and politics, here are some of the reasons why investment in foreign aid is a good idea.

Saving Lives

Research shows that many of the deaths per annum that occur due to poverty are preventable. Specifically, in children, estimates have determined that two in every three deaths are due to diseases and conditions that are treatable such as pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. Famine, which claims 9 million lives a year and is responsible for half of all deaths of children aged 5 and below persists despite research that shows there is enough food produced to feed the population in its entirety by 1.5 times over. With the means readily available, committed support can make a life-saving difference.

Equalize Distribution of Wealth

In a report on economic inequality, researchers were able to determine that billionaires earned enough income to end poverty seven times over in 2017. With well documented adverse effects on GDP, increasing levels of income inequality have produced a measurable stagnation in global economic growth. Organizations like The Giving Pledge, which is comprised of a list of billionaires who have committed half of their wealth to charity, could help solve the problem in redistributing their wealth thereby accelerating global economic development.

The Value in Developing Economies

Since 2008, the U.S. has engaged in investment in foreign aid to Ghana. In fact, it has provided Ghana with $150 million to date. This relationship between the two countries has become increasingly mutualistic as the economy of Ghana continues to develop. An increase from 7.8% to 30.3% in exports from the U.S. shows that when one invests in foreign aid, it produces measurable returns. One can find similar results throughout the globe. For example, the U.S. invested north of $800 million to Afghanistan in 2020 alone but stands to make $1.2 billion in exports. Moreover, this is in spite of the fact that the bulk of funds are going toward democratic processes, human rights and governance.

Building Alliances

In the 20th century, South Korea, Germany and Japan were recipients of foreign aid via The Marshall Plan. The U.S. has providing foreign aid one of its mandates ever since. Today, South Korea and Germany are some of the United States’ most valuable allies and trading partners. With less than 1% of the federal budget going to foreign aid and the U.S. polling highest in how other countries view it as an ally globally, the importance of nurturing and maintaining alliances abroad benefits not only the economy but national security interests as well.

The upsides of concerted investment in foreign aid to eradicate global poverty are self-evident, with the global population experiencing highs in life expectancy, global literacy rates and access to higher education, as well as significant reductions in child and maternal mortality rates. It is clear that much work is necessary, but the world’s understanding of the issue has never been more sophisticated.

– Christian Montemayor
Photo: Flickr

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is most commonly known as the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Facebook. He is also one of the wealthiest people in the world. Zuckerberg is an American technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is using his fame a fortune to help donate and raise awareness to put an end to global issues. With a net worth of $69.5 billion, Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable donations are a way in which this famous young man is using his own wealth in making the world a better place.

The Beginning of the Donations

Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable donations are based on his pledge to donate 99 percent of his wealth to charities over the course of his life. He vowed himself to this by signing the Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to dedicate the majority of their wealth into charities and for good causes. Within this pledge, Zuckerberg also wants to promote equality and advance the human potential for future generations.

In September 2016, Mark and his wife Priscilla Chan sold $95 million in Facebook stocks so that they could give the proceeds to charity. They plan to sell the stocks in the amount to at least $1 billion each year. So far, Zuckerberg has donated $45 billion to charitable purposes. He and his wife firstly pledged to give donations to charity by writing an open letter to their daughter who was born in late 2015. The birth of their daughter inspired them to change the world and environment and make it a better place for their daughter to live in.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable donations also include the joint work with his wife, Doctor Priscilla Chan, in creating and working in their own organization called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. This organization aims to create education reform, biomedical advancements, immigration reform and housing affordability. In addition, it focuses on improving the education system, global development, health and criminal justice systems policy.

All money that is donated and raised to this organization goes into helping these global issues. Zuckerberg’s goal through this initiative is to focus on areas of personal learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. Through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg and wife pledged to donate $3 billion over the course of 10 years.

Donations Toward Education

In 2010, Zuckerberg and his wife donated $100 million to improve the public schools in Newmark. Lack of education is one of the leading causes of poverty, and Zuckerberg and his wife’s donations in support of this issue help children get the right education they need to be successful in life. By getting a child the proper necessities they need in education overall gives them a better education. If a child is falling behind in first grade and then moves on to third grade and is still falling behind they will likely stay behind later on due to not having the right necessities for their work.

Donations in Africa and India

Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable donations also include donating $25 million towards a start-up that trains African developers as well as donating $50 million that creates an app designed to be a learning tool in India to help less fortunate gain access to education for a better future. Zuckerberg is a big advocate of learning and education.

With that being said, he has donated $30 million with his organization the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help kids learn to read by technology. Zuckerberg uses technology to tailor the learning materials with kids’ interests, abilities and pace of work. Zuckerberg launched “Reach Every Reader”, a five-year initiative to build a web-based screening tool that is used to diagnose reading problems before kids can even read. This program is based at home as well as in schools to personalize literacy support or kids, teachers and parents.

Mark Zuckerberg uses his fame and fortune to help people in need all over the world. He has teamed up with his wife Doctor Priscilla Chan to create the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable donations’ overall goals are to focus on areas in all over the world to generate positive impacts in places of great need.

– Ariel Deahl
Photo: Flickr

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is known for being on the top of the world’s most wealthy list. Today, he sits at number two on Forbes 2017 Billionaires List and runs the multinational Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. While he may be most recognizable for his wealth, Buffett is a proven philanthropic powerhouse as well. He utilizes his status around the globe as a platform to promote his philanthropic movements and build support for global aid.

In 2006, Warren Buffett made the “the biggest single gift anyone ever gave anybody for anything” when he donated $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2010, Buffett coupled with Bill Gates to build The Giving Pledge, which asks wealthy individuals around the world to join them in “publicly dedicating the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.”

This year, Buffett made his largest summer donation yet of nearly $3.2 billion in one day. Buffett is one of the most philanthropic individuals in the United States and his reputation amongst the wealthy serves to boost the motivation of others to donate.

On October 3, 2017, Warren Buffett spoke about the national poverty epidemic at the Purpose Built Communities conference in Omaha. At the meeting, Buffett called on the “government and philanthropists (to) do more to ensure that poverty doesn’t remain a barrier success.”

Buffett’s call to action is not lost on the global poverty front. As part of the 1 percent of the world that owns more than the other 99 percent, Buffett’s words reverberate around the world. His recognition of the importance of government and philanthropist involvement is something that should spark action worldwide, leading to global changes in poverty reduction efforts.

Reducing poverty is a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and cross-sectional goal that requires the support of all able members of societies. Buffett’s involvement with the Gates Foundation and The Giving Pledge exemplify his understanding of the collective power. Buffett has pledged to give more than 99 percent of his fortune to charity and has garnered similar pledges from over 170 donors in 21 countries.

With the promises of other wealthy individuals, Gates and Buffett have collected funds for humanitarian efforts around the world. His partnership with Bill Gates augments the publicity for their mutual missions to combat global issues such as poverty, hunger and human rights.

By funding and creating charity-focused endeavors, Buffett has proven his status as a powerhouse in the philanthropy sector. Buffett’s notoriety and wealth bring attention to his actions and put a global spotlight on his philanthropic efforts, to garner support for poverty reduction and encourage global humanitarian movements.

Eliza Gresh

Photo: Flickr

the_giving_pledge
“In this season of giving, we are inspired by the millions of people across the globe who give what they can in meaningful and significant ways,” said Melinda Gates. “The Giving Pledge is rooted in this spirit and hopes to inspire people to tackle problems that are inherently difficult and diverse in an effort to address the pressing social issues they care about most.”

Started in 2010, The Giving Pledge asks the wealthiest people in the world to pledge most of their money to philanthropic and charitable organizations. Started by Bill and Melinda Gates, along with Warren Buffett, arguably the wealthiest people in the world, these billionaires are determined to make a difference.  In order to be part of the Giving Pledge, people must fulfill two requirements. You must be worth at least one billion dollars, and you must be willing to give at least half of that one billion away to charity.

Fortunately, Gates and Buffet have definitely put their money where their mouth is. Bill and Melinda Gates have pledged well over the 50% requirement, pledging a whopping 95% of their wealth to charity. Warren Buffett has certainly reigned supreme, pledging 99% of his wealth to philanthropy and charitable organizations, stating  that,“…incremental wealth, adding to the wealth they have now, has no real utility to them – but that wealth has incredible utility to other people. It can educate children, it can vaccinate children, it can do all kinds of things.”

This way of thinking is what the Gates and Buffet hope that most, if not all, wealthy citizens of the world believe. Fortunately, as of today, over 120 billionaires have agreed to take the pledge. The pledging billionaires are not only citizens of the United States of America, but also come from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

Many of these pledging billionaires give well over the 50% requirement and give to organizations such as, education, health, medical research, social services, and environmental issues.  Bill Gates believes that change for the sick and weary can happen, and states that, “The Giving Pledge brings people together to exchange ideas about how to be as effective as possible and smarter in our giving.”

– Amy Robinson

Sources: Forbes, The Giving Pledge, CBS
Photo: CNN Money

Branson_Charity_Wealth
Sir Richard Branson and his wife, Joan, have joined a handful of billionaires who have pledged much of their wealth to charity. Branson joined Warren Buffett and Bill Gates as the latest billionaire to make such a pledge as part of The Giving Pledge, started by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Branson, the UK’s fourth richest person, whose net worth is estimated at $4.2 billion, declared half of his wealth to charity in an open letter in which he also said that he would like to use a majority of his wealth to “make a difference in the world” through “entrepreneurial approaches,” also saying that money and objects do not bring happiness.

The entrepreneur behind the Virgin Group of companies, Branson went on to state that he and his wife realized how little they valued material possessions after a series of disasters caused them to lose a number of personal items, including a house in London that burnt down and one in the British Virgin Islands that was struck by lightning.

Richard Branson asserted that he and his wife would like a portion of their fortune to go towards creating a “healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy.” The Giving Pledge, started three years ago by Gates, has already seen a around 30 additional American billionaires pledge a good amount of their wealth to charity.

Christina Kindlon

Photo: Time