August 1, 2013

Celebrity Philanthropy: Who is the Most Generous?

Celebrities gravitate toward throwing their name on “something good,” but the headlines don’t always match up with reality. Justin Timberlake’s “foundation,” for example, spent $146,000 on operating costs, $10,000 on travel, $40,000 on “other services,” and only $32,500 actually made it to charity. Luckily, there’s plenty of good guys out there too, for example:

Flickr image by Domain Barnyard

Bill and Melinda Gates: Bill Gates is technically the richest man in the U.S., that is, if he didn’t give away billions. In his tenure at Microsoft, Mr. Gates has given away more than 28 billion dollars to his charities. The Gates have given away more than most countries have earned, and even prompted other big names like Warren Buffet, to give away billions in personal assets to charity.

Flickr image by Alan Light

Jerry Seinfeld: The show about nothing produced a man that certainly knows how to give something. Seinfeld’s foundation may not be the highest earning, but it is one of the fairest. His foundation manages to give away about $2.5 million each year, with operating costs at only $47,000.

Flickr image by State Farm

Lois Pope: The widow of National Enquirer mogul Generoso Pope has devoted her life to giving back. The Lois Pope LIFE Foundation made headlines with a 10 million dollar endowment in 1996. The foundation has since grown into multiple charities that have raised over $100 million dollars for medical research, third world countries and pet adoption.

Flickr image by Alan Light

Oprah Winfrey: The former queen of daytime talk donates up to $50 million dollars a year to charities. Forbes approximates that she gives away almost 20 percent of her salary to The Oprah Winfrey Foundation and Oprah’s Angel Network. She has built schools in Africa, helped re-build New Orleans after Sandy and given countless opportunities to struggling youth.