How Warren Buffett Generosity Can Save Generations
According to Forbes Magazine, Warren Buffett is one of the wealthiest men in the world, with a net worth of over $72 billion. Buffett amassed a great portion of his wealth through investment and involvement in his family’s business, Berkshire Hathaway. Since coming into his fortune, Buffett has created a non-profit called The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which is a large family foundation third only to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Ford Foundation.

After Buffett’s first wife, Susan Thompson, passed away at the age of 72, he decided to focus the foundation’s efforts on charitable causes. One of the most funded causes was creating an IUD, an intrauterine contraceptive device. All of the foundation’s donations to research, funding and supplying were made in confidence, but it is evident that without funding for research the world would be in a much different place.

When IUDs were first created, they had more negative side effects than positive outcomes. Since few women saw their use, research on this form of contraceptive slowed to a halt, but after ten years of minimal research, the Buffett Foundation decided to invest in better contraceptives for women who did not have access to medical facilities. According to Buffett, not allowing women to decide when they want to get pregnant is essentially failing to utilize half of the brainpower in the world, as these people are constantly worried or concerned about pregnancy and their children.

Since Buffett’s investment, three major IUDs have emerged: ParaGard, which is a copper IUD that can last 3 years; Mirena, which is a plastic IUD that secretes hormones and can last up to five years; and most recently, Liletta, which is very similar to Mirena and was developed by a non-profit funded by Buffett in order to offer a cheaper option to women who could not afford a standard IUD.

The longevity of IUDs, some lasting up to 10 years, has made them an ideal form of contraception for busy women who do not have a steady schedule and cannot take pills at the same time every day. IUDs are 99 percent effective and have proven to be safe and beneficial for women in underdeveloped countries. In some developing countries, women are still dying in childbirth due to far too many pregnancies and a lack of control over their fertility. However, as female reproductive rights become a more pressing issue, IUDs and their cheap — or maybe even free — existence could make a huge difference.

Many women who live in poverty feel as though they do not have control over their bodies, an issue that has been brought up with several women’s rights’ activist groups. In order to grant women more control, we must grant them access first to contraceptives and next to education. When women are given the option to decide whether or not to have a child, they are able to make better decisions for their families and for their futures. Childhood mortality rates will decrease, female life expectancy will increase and overall national GDP will also increase. This is one simple change funded by one outstanding man that could provide women in developing nations a chance to take control of their lives and make a difference.

Sumita Tellakat

Sources: Bloomberg, Forbes
Photo: Forbes

Many celebrities have participated in charities for all sorts of causes. Here are ten celebrity quotes that will inspire you to give back, too.

“The truth of the matter is: you can create a great legacy, and inspire others, by giving to philanthropic organizations.”
– Michael Bloomberg, entrepreneur, politician and philanthropist

“I choose to rise up out of that storm and see that in moments of desperation, fear and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another. And I know for sure that there is no them – there’s only us.”
– Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress and founder of Oprah’s Angel Network

“If you think of life as like a big pie, you can try to hold the whole pie and kill yourself trying to keep it, or you can slice it up and give some to the people around you, and you still have plenty left for yourself.”
– Jay Leno, television host and humanitarian

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
– Taylor Swift, professional singer and the 2014 Most Charitable Celebrity

“With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder, investor and patron

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
– Malala Yousafzai, women’s rights activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

“Is the rich world aware of how four billion of the six billion live? If we were aware, we would want to help out, we’d want to get involved.”
– Bill Gates, business magnate, computer programmer and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“It’s about giving the gift of life to a stranger.”
– Leighton Meester, actress, professional singer and philanthropist

“If you’re in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.”
– Warren Buffet, investor, businessman and member of The Giving Pledge

“We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back.”
– Beyoncé, professional singer, musician and founder of BeyGood

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Cause Cast, Daily Mail, Ecorazzi, Giving What We Can, Inspire More, Michael Bloomberg, National Philanthropic Trust,, The Giving Pledge, The Quotations Page, Twitter
Photo: Flickr

worlds_biggest_philanthropistsWe all know how great giving back feels. Donating, whether it’s time, money or other assets, puts a spring in our step and breeze through our hair. But who are the most philanthropic people in the world? Let’s take a look:

1. Warren Buffet: One of the world’s richest people says he views his money as “claim checks” on society that he can turn into consumption to improve the gross domestic product. In 2006, Buffet pledged stocks worth about $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable contribution of all time. He often auctions himself off for dinner on eBay, raising close to $1 million dollars per meal. He plans to donate his fortune once he dies because he believes great wealth should not pass from one generation to the next but instead should move out into the world to make a more lasting, widespread impact.

2. Bill and Melinda Gates: The founder of Microsoft and grandfather of the tech start-up world, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the wealthiest charity in the world with assets estimated at $34.6 billion. Gates has cited David Rockefeller as a major influence on his philanthropic work and has extensively studied the Rockefeller Family’s charitable pursuits. Gates and his wife Melinda have donated over $28 billion to charity and plan on donating 95% of their fortune when they die.

3. Sir Ka-shing Li: Hong Kong business magnate Ka-Shing Li is the richest man in Asia, with his companies comprising 15% of the market cap on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, Li is best known for leading a no-frills lifestyle and donating about $1.3 billion of his wealth to charity. Most of his donations go to universities around the world, such as Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the University of California, Berkley, Stanford University and the University of Alberta. He also founded Shantou University near his hometown of Chaozhou. Li’s charitable work has earned him the Grand Bauhinia Medal, the highest honor in Hong Kong, the Order of the British Empire and the Legion of Honor.

4. Chuck Feeney: Baseball executive and businessman, Feeney founded The Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest foundations in the world. Atlantic has donated more than $6.2 billion since 1982 to social projects in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. The foundation is the largest funder of aging and immigration reform in the United States and has given numerous gifts to Feeney’s alma mater, Cornell University. Feeney’s philosophy is “Giving While Living.”

5. George Soros: Hungarian-born business magnate and investor, Soros gave away $8 billion between 1979 and 2011, mainly to peaceful political movements and educational institutions. In the 1970s, Soros funded black students in South Africa to attend university under apartheid and worked to promote democracy in post-Soviet states. His foundation, Open Society Foundations, helped assist the transition to capitalism in his native Hungary and gave large funds to Central European University in Budapest. Soros also donated $100 million toward increased Internet access in rural Russian universities and $50 million toward the Millennium Promise. Soros’s political activism has long spurred his charitable work.

These philanthropists have dedicated their lives and fortunes to humanitarian causes throughout the world and can serve as an inspiration to all of us to give back and fuel the causes and institutions in which we most steadfastly believe.

– Jenny Wheeler

Sources:, Forbes
Photo: BBC News

Business_Executives_On Poverty
Too often there is a disconnect between the business world and those around the globe suffering from poverty.  These two worlds are perceived as either completely unrelated, or to a certain extent, antagonistic.  However, funding global development and combating poverty are smart business choices.

When business promotes development in ailing communities, healthy and prosperous people create new markets.  As stated by current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, “We need to stop viewing it as aid.  It’s an investment.”

Viewing global aid in that vein, it becomes much easier to see how the determination it takes to create a successful business is quite similar to the dedication necessary to fight global poverty.

Here, then, are ten quotes from business executives that you should apply in your daily fight to end poverty worldwide.

1. “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy Disney

2. “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” – Malcolm Forbes

3. “Think P.I.G. – that’s my motto.  P stands for persistence, I stands for integrity, and G stands for guts.  These are the ingredients for a successful business and a successful life.” – Linda Chandler

4. “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.  Otherwise, why even be here?” – Steve Jobs

5. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch

6. “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” – Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

7. “Apply yourself.  Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something.  Don’t just stand there, make it happen.” – Lee Iacocca

8. “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree long before.” – Warren Buffet

9. “I believe if you show people the problems and you show people the solutions, they will be moved to act.” – Bill Gates

10. “Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there” – Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Taylor Diamond

Sources: ThinkExist, Thought Catalog, BrainyQuote
Photo: HEC

“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