People Who Give Back to Education

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There are some among the wealthy that simply keep what they earn, not feeling it necessary to give back. But then there are those like Henry R. Kravis and George Roberts, founders of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), who highly value the education they received and never hesitate to give big and often.

For example, George Roberts recently gave a “no strings attached” $50 million gift to Claremont McKenna College, where he received his bachelor’s degree. His donation represents a large chunk of the school’s total funds raised of over $600 million this year. The school has decided to use the money to build new athletic facilities, which will bear George Roberts’ namesake.

Roberts’ partner in crime, Henry R. Kravis, has also bestowed hefty gifts upon both Claremont McKenna (where he, too, received his bachelor’s degree) and Columbia (where he earned his MBA). He donated a stunning $100 million to support the latter’s move of its business school to Manhattanville. One of the new facilities built will be called The Henry R. Kravis Building, and will be a state-of-the-art collaborative learning center.

Other well-known faces have also heavily supported education through the years. Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark Public Schools and Justin Timberlake gave $200,000 to music education facilities in Memphis, where he grew up. Will and Jada Smith have also made significant contributions, supporting local programs, replacing stolen technology, and founding the Will and Jada Smith Summer Thinking Scholars Academy.

And of course, Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of The Giving Pledge, are known worldwide for their charitable involvement. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made contributions well into the billions, including funding for grants, scholarships, school improvements, and supporting minority students.

It is uplifting to see so many leaders in our world taking a stand and supporting worthy causes like education. Americans are blessed to have a government that supports a free education for all people. Donations like those made by George Roberts, Henry Kravis, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Will and Jada Smith, and Bill and Melinda Gates are even more important in times when education funding continues to see cuts. They really do help keep the dream alive.