Claim to Fame: Microsoft; former “Richest Man in the World”
Net Worth: $49 billion
What He’s Given: $28 billion to his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, plus lots, lots more
It’s hard to imagine that in 1996, fellow billionaire Ted Turner once criticized Bill Gates for not being altruistic enough.
“Why isn’t it better to be the biggest giver rather than the biggest hog?” Turner once asked the New York Times, chastising Gates and the other perennial “richest man in the world” contender, Warren Buffet, for being sheisty in the philanthropic sense.
Now, Gates himself is not only synonymous with charitable giving, but also charitable giving with a plan. His foundation champions a wide variety of global causes – including eradicating HIV/AIDs, malaria, building sustainable communities, and teaching child literacy through innovation – many of which Gates is invested in first hand.
In fact, if Gates weren’t so charitable (including investing $28 billion in his own foundation) it’s estimated he’d be sitting easily atop Forbes’s coming list of billionaires, passing Mexico’s telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim (estimated at $60 billion) for the number one spot with a net worth of $88 billion.
To put that in perspective, Bill Gates has given away more than the net worths of every other guy on this very list.