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// Modern day philanthropist- how the tides change?

The success of an individual can be defined by the term ‘more than his money’s worth’. Extending beyond the reach of financial prosperity, philanthropists actively utilize their wealth to support the society without want of media attention. As altruistic individuals they are set with the task of showing the world that equality and human rights are deserved by the highest and lowest of us. Regardless of our title, background or upbringing, we all have a role to play in helping shape our society for the better.

Some of the more notable philanthropists include the likes of Warren Buffet, who has pledged to give away 99% of his $72.3 billion fortune to philanthropic causes. As Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffet also spends his time trying to cajole the immensely wealthy into providing funds for various social causes across the world.

Partnering with fellow philanthropist Bill Gates, the duo travel around the world giving lectures on social development and promoting the concept of charitable giving. Gates also has his own foundation with his wife Melinda and together they work to spread the concept of a global citizen; with the main focus being on international development, the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation” awards grants around the world base on the need and timing of request. Their current most notable contribution was towards the critically required aid in Nepal after its recent earthquake that affected thousands.

Philanthropy while mainly focused around charitable giving can also be centered on more alternative forms of development. Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Giving initiative shows support towards entrepreneurial and education based development across third world countries. His current clean energy challenge pledges to give nearly all of his transportation business profits (at an estimated $3 billion) to whomever provides a solution for the world’s energy problem. Having founded his first charity at the age of 17, Branson also acts a patron for several UK-based charities. Along the lines of entrepreneurship, philanthropic couple Pierre (founder of eBay) and Pam Omidyar operate the Omidyar network as a venture capitalist and utilize it to invest in businesses and NGO’s that support social causes. Conceptually they work along the lines of an “Impact Investor”, assessing the net scalable benefit of entrepreneurial ideas before support the cause.

Philanthropic causes vary from individual to individual. However none are more heartfelt than those by Azim Premji, a self made Indian billionaire who has made a significant impact across South Asia to change the educational standards amongst those with the lowest standard of living. With his mantra being “To those whom much has been given, much needs to be given back”, Azim’s vision focuses around a world that facilitates an equitable, sustainable and humane society. As individuals, while we may not be in a position to contribute at the scale of those mentioned above, we do a duty to fulfill. It is our job to ensure that should the time come, we’d always be willing to lend support to those less fortunate if we have the power to do so.  

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