Donation Organizations

3 Generous Billionaires You’ve Never Heard Of

Everyone knows who Bill Gates is. He and his wife Melinda started one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Additionally, most people are familiar with Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO who vowed to put 99 percent of his shares towards good causes. He and his wife Priscilla started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability corporation that is focused on expanding education, curing diseases, and promoting equality.

But there are other billionaires that are just as generous (if not more) than those listed above. Here are some of those unsung billionaire heroes who are using their fortunes to make the world a better place:

  1. George Roberts

George Roberts is an American financier who co-founded the private equity firm KKR. Roberts has put his $4.8 billion worth towards helping society’s most marginalized members attain hope and independence. As the founder of the San Francisco-based nonprofit REDF, Roberts provides resources that help homeless people and other disadvantaged groups find jobs.

  1. Manoj Bhargava

Manoj Bhargava is the founder and CEO of 5-Hour Energy. In truly honorable fashion, he promised to give 90% of his $4 billion dollar worth to charity. In 2015, he founded Billions in Change, a limited liability corporation that strives to lift people out of poverty by making clean water, renewable energy, and healthcare more accessible.

  1. Sara Blakely

Sara Blakley is the founder and CEO of women’s intimate apparel company Spanx. Over the years, she has supported numerous causes and organizations that focus on female education and entrepreneurship programs. Her net worth is estimated to be at $1.2 billion.

These stunning examples of generosity prove that the wealthy aren’t always the selfish, greedy people that they are often portrayed to be in the media. Kindness comes in all forms, both rich and poor.


Business Gets Artsy: Recent Art Donations are the Biggest Yet

It’s not unusual for businessmen and women who have made it big to give back to their communities. But the scale on which some have donated to local art museums is getting more impressive every day. From Thom Weisel’s generous donations of Indian art to the de Young Art Museum in San Francisco to Spencer and Marlene Hays’s bequeathed collection of 19th and 20th century art headed for the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the business world is not afraid to give back on a big scale.

Thom Weisel is a prime example of a big business heavy hitter who has shifted his focus in recent years to giving back to his local art community. Founder of legendary San Francisco investment bank Montgomery Securities, Weisel now spends less time in the board room and more time building a world-class art collection, including pieces from the early New York school, the California figurative movement, and Native American work. His favorite artists include Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Brown, Wayne Thiebaud, David Park, and Franz Kline.

The recently re-opened San Francisco Museum of Art has just named three galleries after Weisel, thanks to his generous donations. And he gifted his 200 Native American pieces to the de Young Museum.

While Weisel still has his hand in the investment banking world, he’s pleased to be able to live a more balanced life, including time spent with family, philanthropic projects, and his art collection. He’s been a trustee at the San Francisco Museum of Art for more than 32 years and has endowed the museum’s curator of painting and sculpture position.

Weisel isn’t the only businessperson moved to make enormously generous donations of art, however. Just last month Marlene and Spencer Hays, who made their fortune through extremely successful companies selling books and men’s clothing, announced they will bequeath their collection of late 19th and early 20th century paintings to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris upon their deaths. This marks the largest donation to a French museum by a foreign donor in over 70 years.

And while the Musée d’Orsay waits on that, its staff and visitors can comfort themselves with the Hayes’ initial donation of 187 pieces worth about €173 million, including pieces by Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, and Edgar Degas.

This isn’t the first time the Hayses have worked with the Musée d’Orsay, either. Over the last 15 years, they have developed a close relationship with the museum, including lending a selection of their collection for the 2013 exhibition “A French Passion.”

The Hayses have had a great love for France—Paris in particular—since their first trip there in 1971 just after their business really took off. Since then, they have devoted themselves to collecting and supporting French art both in Europe and stateside.

For some businesspeople, getting involved in the art world is more than just a passion—it’s a cause. Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and her husband Gustavo, who made their multibillion-dollar fortune in Latin American media, are hoping their enormous art donations to New York’s MoMA will bring more attention and appreciation to Latin American art.

The Cisneroses adorn their home with Modern abstraction and contemporary works from Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay. And over the last 16 years, they’ve donated 40 pieces to MoMA, where Patricia Cisneros has served on the board since 1992.

Their latest donation of 102 works will become the backbone of the museum’s new research institute for the study of Latin American art. Artists include Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Tomás Maldonado. Twenty-one of the artists from the donation are entering the museum’s collection for the first time. In addition, many will be lent to other museums over time to share Latin American masterpieces with a larger audience.

Big name businesspeople like Weisel, the Hayses, and the Cisneroses aren’t just making waves in the world of business. They are increasingly shaping the face of art both in their own communities and in the larger world.

Donation News Organizations The Power of Giving

The Foundation of Giving: New Movements by the Wealthy to Give Back

Front of the Gates Foundation building
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Giving Pledge is one way billionaires are giving back.
Image: lembi /

Whether it’s inherent in the structure of a business or a personal choice made by the wealthy individual, more and more billionaires are choosing to give away massive portions of their wealth to charity. Sometimes the donations happen during the person’s lifetime; other times it’s a promise through a program like the Giving Pledge to donate a significant percentage of their money to charity upon their death.

On the business side, groups like global financial powerhouse General Atlantic are often founded on the idea of giving back to the community. Established in 1980, General Atlantic has more than 100 investments around the world. But it’s not just about the money—the company founder, Chuck Feeney, was determined to make philanthropy a vital part of the business.

According to Bill Ford, General Atlantic Chief Executive Officer, Feeny “was one of the early proponents of ‘giving while living’ and aimed to give his entire fortune away during his lifetime to support a number of philanthropic causes he was passionate about. In order to grow his capital available for giving, he partnered with us to invest in other promising entrepreneurs. So General Atlantic’s heritage has always been about backing entrepreneurs and innovators who are trying to build new businesses and who often pioneer new industries.”

In more modern times, many billionaires are not only integrating philanthropy into their businesses, but also turning to Bill Gates’s and Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge. The pledge is not a legally binding commitment, but rather, a promise by the world’s wealthy to donate more than half of their fortunes to charitable causes either during or after their lifetime. The Giving Pledge is meant to help the wealthy inspire others by providing well-known examples of people who have gone above and beyond to give back to their communities.

Each Pledge member publicly announces his or her intent to give, as well as creating an official statement about their philanthropic plans. In addition, they gather throughout the year—and at one big annual event—to discuss issues of philanthropy.

As of 2015, this group included 193 individuals from around the world, with more constantly joining

“It’s really thinking about how iconic figures providing inspiration and support can inspire and serve as a model for society,” said Robert Rosen, Giving Pledge coordinator and Director of Philanthropic Partnerships for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “We aren’t looking to add any additional complexity.”

Will these billionaires actually give the amounts they’ve promised? So far, many have. And hopefully they will inspire an entirely new generation of philanthropic do-gooders to do great things for their communities.


Organizations Profiles

The Partnership for New York City

Partners for New York
IMG: via Shutterstock

Partnership for New York City is an organization that works to advance the local economy by connecting like-minded leaders in business. NYC is known for being one of the most prolific hubs for world commerce, finance, and innovation, and it’s the group’s duty to maintain this reputation.

The goal of the organization is to help create jobs, improve economically troubled communities, and to help start new businesses. The Partnership for New York City is a “nonprofit membership organization comprised of a select group of two hundred CEOs” from the city’s most notable corporate, investment, and entrepreneurial firms.

Notable Partners from the Board of Directors include Lazard CEO and Chairman Kenneth Jacobs, Lisa S. Sanford of IBM Corporation, Henry Kravis, CEO of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts &Co., Sherilyn McCoy, CEO of Avon Products Inc., and Founding Chairman David Rockefeller.

To read more about The Partnership for New York City and Lazard’s CEO, Kenneth Jacobs, check out our profiles!

Organizations Resources

Queens’ Kings of Philanthropy and Business

Steve Lacey
Anchor at Fox 5 News, Steve Lacey will host the event.
IMG via Media Bistro

Queens, New York is home to many “kings.” To be more precise, this flourishing borough has many successful business owners who not only conduct lucrative endeavors, but who make a point to give back to their community. These men will be honored at the Kings of Queens Awards Ceremony, an annual event organized by the Queens Courier and Queens Business, that will recognize the top businessmen of the community.

The “2013 Kings of Queens: A Champion Breakfast Awards and Networking Event” will honor the business leaders of Queens for their “outstanding leadership and contributions to the community,” according to the Queens Courier. The event is predicted to attract 500 of the leading businessmen in the borough, and is designed to be a productive networking opportunity, in conjunction with the awards. The event will also serve as a benefit function, with proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle going towards the Queens Museum Education Program, something all attendees will be pleased to support.

This year’s event will be held at Terrace on the Park and emceed by Steve Lacey, Anchor at Fox 5 News, the Courier reports. Like Kings of Queens Awards of the past, the upcoming ceremony is sure to be one of the most important business networking opportunities of the year, with its inclusion of a business expo in addition to the honors. Some of the honorees of this year’s awards include Mihir B. Patel, President of the Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects, and Musa Ali Shama, the Principal of Francis Lewis High School in Queens. Another is Joseph Mattone Jr., a partner of the Mattone Group, whose brother Carl Mattone, and their development company were also honored in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

Among the diverse but likeminded honorees of the past are Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who served as keynote speaker and received the “King of Kings” award two years ago. In 2011, the “Queen of Queens” award went to Borough President Helen Marshall.

The 2013 Kings of Queens: A Champion Breakfast Awards and Networking Event will be held on Thursday, September 26th, at 8:00am.

Edit note: A previous version of this article stated that Mayor Bloomberg and Helen Marshall would be receiving awards this year, when in fact they are past recipients. This error was corrected at at 11:22 AM Pacific Time on 9/13/13.


Prominent People in Philanthropy: Jenny Farrelly

Jenny Farrelly
IMG: via

Jenny Farrelly is a successful businesswoman who is dedicated to helping young people move up in the world. With a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Farrelly knows how far a good education can take a person.

Her education has taken her to KKR, the private equity giant led by co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts. Jenny Farrelly is a member of the Global Public Affairs team and key media contact for KKR. Her education was specialized for work in finance and corporate communications, and she has worked for other notable corporations like Edelman’s Corporate & Financial Communications practice, Citigroup, and Stifel Nicolas.

Jenny Farrelly’s résumé is enviable, but through her involvement in programs like the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) and Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), she has proven that she’s dedicated to helping others do the same.

To read the entire profile on Jenny Farrelly, visit here.


Applying for a Grant

IMG: via Shutterstock

Grants can be a great way to fund new or existing projects and research that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. For organizations, grants can help them afford to carry out a new project or pay for the staff to complete it. New equipment could be bought with grant money, initiatives carried out. Not all projects require capital, but many do—and grants can be a great resource, especially since it’s money that won’t need to be paid back.

But the application process is often time-consuming and strenuous, and takes some practice. Those considering applying for a grant should allow ample time to 1) Decide if a grant is the right course of action; 2) Find the right grant for the project; and 3) Prepare and write a grant proposal.

There are three main sources when it comes to who offers grant. These sources include the following:

1)   The government—local, state, and federal

2)   Businesses and corporations

3)   Foundations

Federal grants are often available, and depending on the grant can be quite large as well. For example, each year thousands of students receive Pell Grants, which pay for part or all of a student’s college tuition. Many students wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford move on to higher education if it wasn’t for this federal assistance.

Businesses and corporations are also a great resource when searching for grants. Large corporations like Moody’s Corporation have a multitude of grants available in several different categories. Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel has actively cultivated a spirit of giving within the corporation.

Perhaps the largest source of grants are foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each year, foundations provide millions of dollars to community groups and organizations. For example, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded over $25 billion since its inception, and continues to grant more each year.

Once an appropriate grant has been located, the application process can begin. This generally consists of paperwork, usually including a short proposal and possibly credentials. Every organization has different guidelines to follow, which should be clearly outlined on their website or grant documents. Those applying for a grant should follow instructions as closely as possible or risk their proposal being thrown out.