It is but a matter of pity that out of the 793 billionaires in the world, only 14 qualified to fit into the group of wealthy philanthropists who have already given away $1 billion or more. (Three others being SAP’s Dietmar Hopp, mutual fund guru James Stowers, and former banking billionaire Herbert Sandler) Piloting the cream of the crop is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who has cut cheques worth $28 billion during his lifetime, most of which had been channelized to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Affiliated with the same organization is Gates’ Bridge buddy Warren Buffet who had pledged to donate $30 billion over 20 years into the Gates Foundation, out of which $27.5 billion have already been transferred as of April 2009. Hedge Fund Manager George Soros stands second in the list with a donation of $7.2 billion, followed by Intel founder Gordon Moore who has given away $6.8 billion. New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg is also featured in the list, and so is Hong Kong’s richest, Li Ka-Shing, who happens to be the only Asian representative in this class. All the above mentioned happen to be self-made. In contrast, Swiss Billionaire Stephen Schmidheiny is the only silver spoon, who donated his company Grupo Neuva to a certain trust.
Ten of the fourteen billionaires happen to be from the US, which adheres to the nation’s long held reputation of hosting the most generous philanthropists in history, two of whom were notable figures such as Andrew Carnegie and David Rockefeller. However, there have been a few philanthropists who’ve fallen prey to inflation, owing to which, their donations, which were previously undervalued, have crossed the $1 billion mark in current times. Two of them are SAP co-founder Hans Plattner who gave $900 million in 1998, equivalent to $1.3 billion today, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who has given $900 million during his lifetime, which is valued $1 billion in current times.