June 19, 2023 | Eul Basa

Here's Where Billionaires Are Giving Away Their Money To


Billionaires have more money than they could ever need. What, then, do they do with all of that wealth? Nowadays, all eyes are laser-focused on their philanthropic efforts, especially since they are the ones with the rare power to effect real and significant changes in our troubled world.

For some billionaires, it appears that divorce is a key motivator for their acts of generosity. Take MacKenzie Scott, for example—she donated almost $6 billion to hundreds of charitable groups after her divorce from Jeff Bezos, while Bezos, on the other hand, pledged $10 billion to an "Earth Fund" that aims to fight climate change. What's particularly interesting is that such amounts are the largest that either of them has ever given or pledged before, yet their fortunes still continue to grow at a faster pace than their donations. In essence, they are able to give away those billions of dollars without even breaking a sweat.

There's also Bill and Melinda Gates, whose divorce almost sent ripples through their $50-billion foundation. Despite their split, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is regarded as one of the most influential in history, remains unscathed. They are also still involved with The Giving Pledge along with Warren Buffet and other money moguls who have promised to give away the majority of their fortunes, either while they are still alive or after their death. It's a great idea, but it's also far from guaranteed—the pledges they made were simply moral ones, and any one of them can change their minds if they want to.

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Other billionaires aren't quite sure how they should give away their money in the first place. Elon Musk once took to Twitter to ask his followers for ideas on how he should give away his fortune, which was $172 billion at the time. Azim Premji (Wipro), Phil Knight (Nike), and Eric Schmidt (Google) were also in the same boat, but they ended up contributing to their own foundations instead, hoping that those groups could figure out how to distribute the money themselves. Given that our world is facing so many big issues that could be reduced or even solved with sufficient funding, it's baffling that these billionaires genuinely don't know where to start. They literally just have to pick one issue and run with it.

Linsey McGoey of the University of Essex put it simply and plainly: “Philanthropists get far too much positive attention in ways that deserve more scrutiny right now. We’re starting to suspect that the people who have billions of dollars don’t have a true interest in solving these problems."

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