The richest people are changing…

Did you notice that list of richest people are changing? It used to be pretty repetitive. But several years ago, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett decided to change the way they managed their money, along with over 180 other people. This 4-minute read shares a few ways this group is changing and how this may matter to you.

You’ve probably seen the list of richest people. Did you notice that those lists are changing now? It used to be pretty repetitive. But several years ago, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett decided to change the way they managed their money. They encouraged a number of other 1-percenters to do the same.

Gates and Buffett decided to give the majority of their money away in 2010, along with 38 more America’s wealthiest. These are people who are billionaires – or those who would be if they hadn’t been giving their money away.

The Giving Pledge isn’t a legal contract and it’s pretty open-ended. Sometimes members donate the funds to organizations, and sometimes they create their own foundations. This pledge says that funds can even just be earmarked in their wills. However it happens, some of the richest people are using more than 50% of their money to make significant contributions to improve our world.

Many of these billionaires are investing in potentially risky innovations. This money was often earned through businesses that are household names, at least in their home nations. I looked at a few profiles and bios to see how they described the purpose for their donations.

  • Gensheng Niu created his Lao Niu Foundation in 2004 and focuses on “environmental protection, culture and education, and the advancement of the philanthropic sector”. He takes the approach that we should be “acting as a guardian of the future.”
  • Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was raised by her parents “to believe that wealth creation is about making a difference to society”. Her efforts are “largely directed towards making a difference to global healthcare especially in the developing world.”
  • Rohini and Nandan Nilekani are concerned about the rising inequalities in the world and aim to help through societal platforms, specifically “open, technology-enabled ecosystems or nurturing networks.”
  • Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa are considered Africa’s most generous humanitarians. Including other significant and extensive work, they “finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans.”
  • John Paul DeJoria takes a broad approach to making the world a better place. “Whether it is feeding thousands of orphans in third world countries, saving whales, helping the homeless find employment, protecting our waterways, rescuing young girls from prostitution, teaching and supplying families in Appalachia with equipment to grow their own vegetables, or any other act of giving…giving back is a practice and joy I want my family to continue.”

And these are just a few of the members of The Giving Pledge. Seeing these commitments is encouraging. These people have significant funds at their disposal, and they’ve publicly committed to improve the world, often taking risks normal investors won’t take.

But billionaires with name recognition aren’t the only ones who can change things.

The reality is that you and your business can participate now in making positive, and potentially world-changing actions, before your business is a household name. And like Mr. DeJoria’s example, these transformational efforts can be small scale, or large.

Small victories are based on wisdom, great victories are based on virtue; with the increase of wealth, comes an increase in responsibility; Helping people lets you walk the way of kindness; Let the benefactor be thankful for the beneficiary…

— Gensheng Niu

By making seemingly small adjustments in your business and supply chain, you can start a domino effect. At the end of each day, the world will be a little better than it started. And when you bring your improvements to the public, they don’t stand alone. They stand with these examples as well as with the many purpose-led businesses around the world. These small changes turn into significant results.

When Gates and Buffett started The Giving Pledge, it was 40 people. Now it’s 183. Each person taking a public stand encourages more people to join in. More people who shift their perspective. And more benefits for their communities and the world overall.

So tell people about your own business’s efforts. It doesn’t need to be loud or brazen. As you tell people about the benefits of your product, tell them about how the materials are sustainably sourced. Or how the packaging looks different because you found out a redesign would reduce waste and allow for recycling. Whatever changes you make, however you decide to use your power and influence, share the how and why behind your business’s purpose.

Join in with the super rich. Help change things.

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