Entrepreneurs Giving Back

18 Jan

This is a guest post by Michelle Gregory.

If you had more money than you could ever need, would you swim in it like Scrooge McDuck or give it away? Most of us will never achieve a level of wealth like that, but entrepreneurs who have made a staggering amount of wealth choose to spread that wealth. Some, like Mark Zuckerberg, pledge large donations publicly and encourage philanthropy among their peers. Others, like Bob Parsons, draw less attention with their gifts, but give nonetheless.

Bob Parsons

Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy.com (and executive chairman) and his wife started their own charitable foundation aptly named the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation based out of Scottsdale, Arizona. They plan to give several million dollars a year, according to AZcentral.com. The foundation was created to facilitate charitable gifts to a variety of organizations. The Parsons give to a variety of causes with personal significance. They also like to patronize charities based in and serving Arizona.

“I made my living here, and I feel we have an opportunity to help out where there’s some really critical needs,” Parson said.

Though Parsons frequently provides video blogs for GoDaddy.com and was the driving force between the advertising campaign that made them a household name, he isn’t actively publicizing these charity initiatives. And while previous gifts were given to causes hand-picked by the Parsons, the foundation does accept funding requests from any organization in need through their website. While businessman Parsons isn’t working full time at GoDaddy anymore, he’s still got plenty to keep him busy. He owns several motorcycle dealerships and has an interest in a real-estate investment firm.

Mark Zuckerberg


Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Wildly successful Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been very vocal about his stance on philanthropy. In 2007, the then-26-year-old donated $100 million to Newark, New Jersey schools, according to Entrepreneur.com. In the same year, he also signed The Giving Pledge. In doing so, he pledged to give most of his wealth to charity either during his lifetime or after his death. The creator of the world’s largest social network even went so far as to reduce his yearly salary to $1. His 28 percent stake in the company is enough to keep Zuckerberg financially stable for several lifetimes.

Bill Gates

The Giving Pledge was created by Bill and Melinda Gates who, according to Forbes, are unrivaled as the greatest givers in human history. As of early November 2012, the Gates had reportedly given upward of $28 billion in philanthropic gifts. Beyond doing good with their own fortune, the Gates have encouraged some of the most wealthy families and entrepreneurs around the globe to commit the majority of their fortunes to helping others. The Gates foundation, for example, has worked to rid the world of polio, cases worldwide are now down 99 percent over the last 20 years, according to the Gates Foundation website.

What local, regional or world problems would you tackle with an unlimited budget? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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