8 Rich People Who Gave Their Money Away

Spending billions in a single lifetime takes more than purchasing a private yacht and a few mansions. These eight entrepreneurs have chosen to make the most of their fortunes by giving back to society in a big way. Many of the listed billionaires have signed the “Giving Pledge,” promising to donate more than half of their wealth during their lifetimes.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder

The Facebook founder and his wife Priscilla Chan made headlines recently with a pledge to give away 99% of their Facebook shares over their lifetimes. The announcement of the “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative” focused on promoting health and education followed the birth of their daughter Max. Zuckerberg’s massive fortune is an estimated $46 billion.

This isn’t the coding prodigy’s first foray into philanthropy. The couple had previously donated over $1 billion dollars. In addition to large donations to Newark Public Schools and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Zuckerberg runs the Internet.org project, dedicated to bringing affordable Internet access to the estimated five billion people who are still unconnected. His giving also supports hospitals and research on curing major diseases. Zuckerberg recently dipped his toes into a new area, funding an institute to support U.S. immigration reform – likely to help Facebook draw global talent to its U.S. headquarters.

C Flanigan
C Flanigan

Despite Zuckerberg’s seeming generosity, his announcement of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative drew cries of tax avoidance from many critics. The media will be watching closely to see how these funds are spent over the coming decades.