When a lot of people think of businessmen, they think of people whose primary focus is money. The truth of the matter is, business is only one part of the life of a businessman, and the other parts vary considerably from person to person. Philanthropy, however, is one thing a lot of businessmen find themselves dabbling in, especially as their business does better. The fact is, philanthropy and business are intertwined in more ways than you might think. From businesses that make it a mission to do good to businessmen who simply find joy in helping others, there are countless examples of philanthropy in the business world.
Perhaps the most popular example of business and philanthropy intertwining is the life of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. After decades of success in the world of computers and technology, Bill Gates created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. This foundation does a lot of different humanitarian work, including working to improve healthcare and education throughout the world.
The interesting thing about the philanthropy of Bill Gates is the fact that he’s invested so much money into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According to reports, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is actually the largest private foundation in the world with more than $40 billion in assets. As a matter of fact, a USA Today fact check showed that Bill Gates has donated a whopping $45.5 billion to charities throughout his life. This kind of charitable work has changed the lives of people everywhere.
One of the strongest commitments to giving back to the world comes from venture capitalist Mark Stevens. By taking the Giving Pledge, Stevens has promised to give a large portion of his wealth back to causes that go toward improving communities and helping people. Since taking this pledge, Stevens has donated money to numerous charitable organizations and helped changed the lives of countless people.
Much of the philanthropy Mark Stevens has been involved with has to do with academics. As an educated man who attended USC, Stevens started by donating $22 million to USC in 2004. In 2015, Stevens donated an additional $50 million to USC. Both of these donations were used to make significant additions to the school which has transformed the programs there. In 2019, Stevens donated to the United States Olympic Committee to help them fund research to help them stay on the cutting edge of sports technology.
Tim Cook isn’t the first name that comes to mind when most people think of Apple CEOs, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t done a lot of good. One of the best things Tim Cook has done since taking over at Apple was something he did in the very early stages of being CEO: pledging to match donations made by employees.
From the day this program was first initiated in 2011, Apple has matched over $25 million in employee donations, which has resulted in a total of more than $50 million being donated to charitable causes. The really cool part about this is that it allows employees to get in on the philanthropy while giving them an incentive to do so. Rather than not donating anything at all, employees get the accomplished feeling of helping a good cause.
Although Paul Allen passed away at the age of 65 in 2018, his effects on the world can still be felt to this day. Paul Allen is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft and later the owner of the Seattle SuperSonics, Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. What really made Allen special, however, was the charity work he did both before and after starting Vulcan, his private investment company.
From supporting global health causes to donating to charities that support conservation efforts, Paul Allen was all about charity. Interestingly enough, the reputation he built for himself based on those charitable actions followed him and helped him succeed in business everywhere he went. This is perhaps the most difficult thing for people to understand when it comes to philanthropy in business—that giving leads to receiving. No matter what kind of business you’re in, you should find ways to give back as often as you can for the sake of your business and your community.
No matter how you slice it, it’s pretty clear that philanthropy has a lot to do with business—especially successful businesses. Some of the richest and most successful people in the world have spent much of their lives donating money to charities. Not only does philanthropy help create a connection between your business and your customers, it turns your business into one that your customers are proud to support. Plus, you get a chance to help create real changes to make the world a better place.