Philanthropy & Charity

Philanthropy has become big again. Some of the world’s richest people have recently been seen giving away vast portions of their amassed fortunes to a variety of international causes. Some, like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, have reacted to the current global economic crisis by encouraging their fellow billionaires to give generously. Others have been doing it quietly ever since they made it big.

While most of history’s biggest givers are from the boom times of the recent era, not all of them are. It is possible that the greatest philanthropist of all time lies in the murky histories of Ming China or Malian West Africa, both of which were times renown for their wealth. We could try to trace back the threads of time to long past eras, find their richest individuals and calculate their philanthropic contribution in modern currency. But, that would be exceedingly complicated. Better to stick with what we know for sure. That being the case, our 10 most generous individuals are all from fairly recent history.

Based on total amount pledged or actually given, these are the top 10 biggest philanthropists of all time.

10: Michael Bloomberg: $2.4 billion (current total Net Worth of $31 billion)


The three time, and current, mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg has donated $2.4 billion to a wide range of education, technological, and healthcare efforts. Bloomberg made his money by offering Wall Street traders quick, and high quality business information. His company, Bloomberg LP, later expanded into an international news agency with two business magazines, a radio station, global television network, and wire service.

Through Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg has donated $2.4 billion to replace coal as an energy source, fight tobacco and polio, streamline municipal governments throughout the US, and support the arts of New York City.

9: Eli and Edythe Broad $3.5 billion (current total Net Worth $6.9 billion)


The son of a house painter and dressmaker, Eli Broad has spent the last decade giving generously to scientific research, early education, and the arts of Los Angeles. Broad made his billions through successfully running two Fortune 500 companies. The first, a Detroit home builder called Kaufman and Broad, and the other, SunAmerica, a billion dollar retirement savings company Broad forged out of a century old family insurance company.

After selling SunAmerica in 1999 for $18 billion, Broad, with his wife Edythe, turned his attention to philanthropy full time. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has given $3.5 billion to support human genomics and stem cell research, urban public schools, and the museums and art collections of Los Angeles.

8: George Kaiser: $4 Billion (current total Net Worth $10 Billion)


One of the top 100 richest people in the world, George Kaiser inherited Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. from his uncle and parents in 1969. In 1990 he bought the Bank of Oklahoma, putting him on Forbes list of 400 wealthiest Americans.

Through the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser has funded efforts to fight child poverty, develop alternative sources of energy, and combat drugs and poverty throughout his native city of Tulsa.

7: Carlos Slim Helú: $4 Billion (current total Net Worth $74 billion)


From 2010 to 2013, Carlos Slim Helú was the richest person in the world, before being toppled by Bill Gates in 2013. Through his Fundación Carlos Slim Helú, the native of Mexico has given $4 billion to providing health care, digital education, access to improved nutrition, and disease prevention throughout Latin America, in one case paying for 50,000 cataract surgeries in Peru. Carlos Slim Helú has also sponsored the Museo Soumaya, a free admissions museum in Mexico City.

6: Chuck Feeney: $6.3 Billion (current total Net Worth $2 million)


Dubbed by Forbes “The Billionaire Who Is trying To Go Broke”, Chuck Feeney has been trying to give away as much of his amassed $7.5 billion fortune as he can to worthy charitable causes since 1984. His foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies has donated 6.3 billion of Feeney’s fortune into global efforts for education, science, health care, aging, and civil rights. Best of all, Feeney has been doing it as quietly as he possibly can.

5: Gordon Moore: $6.8 Billion (current total Net Worth $4.6 billion)


Gordon Moore made his fortune as a co-founder and chairman of the Intel Corporation, and is famous as the author of ‘Moore’s Law’, which is typically called upon to explain the big steps in computing capability over the past several decades.

Through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Moore and his wife have directed nearly $7 billion towards higher education, environmental conservation, nursing education, and the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope in Hawaii, the largest optical telescope in the world.

4: George Soros: $10 Billion (current total Net Worth $20 billion)


Originally from Hungary, Soros emigrated after WW2 to study at the London School of Economics while surviving as a waiter and railway porter. Soros excelled in the financial field, developing the economic theory of reflexivity, and becoming infamous as ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank of England’ during the 1992 UK currency crises.

Soros has long been a supporter of human rights and open democratic societies. During the 1970s, Soros funded both black students living under South African apartheid, and dissidents behind the iron curtain. He is also credited with being instrumental in the transition from communism to capitalism in Hungary during the 1980s.

In 1993, Soros founded the Open Society Foundation, a public policy grant network that promotes social reform, human rights, and democracy. Among the billions Soros has donated, 1.7 billion has gone to human rights efforts, while another 1.6 billion has gone to education.

3: Warren Buffet: $25 Billion (current total Net Worth $58.7 billion)


One of the world’s wealthiest people, Warren Buffet is also one of the most generous on the list of billionaire philanthropists. Notable for his personal frugality, and consistently successful investment advice, Buffett, in alliance with Gates, created the Giving Pledge in response to the current economic crises, encouraging America’s billionaires to invest the majority of their wealth in philanthropic causes. Buffett himself has committed $25 billion of his fortune, largely to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

2: Bill and Melinda Gates: $28 billion (current total Net Worth $74 billion)


Perhaps the most successful entrepreneur of the information age, Bill Gates amassed an immense fortune as the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, holding the title of the world’s richest man multiple times, including in 2013. Since 1999, Gates has poured money into his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which, in alliance with the efforts of Warren Buffett, has become one of the world’s leading philanthropic foundations, primarily focusing on global healthcare, poverty, education, and increasing access to information technology.

1: Andrew Carnegie: (Estimated after adjustment $75-297.8 billion out of a total Net Worth of $298.3 billion)


One of history’s richest men, Andrew Carnegie, the namesake of Carnegie Hall, died nearly a century ago and is still the biggest philanthropist of all time. After amassing one of the largest fortunes ever seen through the burgeoning U.S. Steel industry ($298.3 billion in 2007 dollars according for Forbes), the Scottish immigrant spent the last twenty years of his life giving away over 90% of his wealth. Carnegie donated liberally to education, establishing universities, schools, and nearly 3000 free public libraries across the English-speaking world. The steel tycoon also supported the construction of civic institutions, 7000 church organs, and, perhaps his most famous monument, Carnegie Hall.


Weekly Market Outlook

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, won’t boost output to capacity and flood the market, the kingdom’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said weeks before OPEC meets to discuss ways to stabilize prices.

Saudi Arabia isn’t concerned about global demand in spite of a drop in oil prices and a slower economy, Al-Falih said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television. The country is able to pump as much as 12.5 million barrels a day of oil, he said in comments broadcast during an official visit to buyers in Asia, its biggest market, including China.

Saudi Arabia is producing near record levels as it tries to preserve market share in the face of a worldwide glut. The country pumped 10.43 million barrels a day in July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. An increase in supply, including from U.S. shale drillers, has triggered a drop in crude prices of more than 50 percent since their 2014 peak. Saudi Arabia plans to hold informal talks on stabilizing prices with other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Algeria next month.


Weekly Market Outlook

Emerging-market stocks headed for their longest stretch of monthly gains in two years as stimulus from global central banks outweighed concern the U.S. Federal Reserve is on the brink of resuming interest-rate hikes.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of equities rose 2.7 percent in August led by an advance in China. Colombia’s peso and Russia’s ruble topped gains among currencies in the developing world, while South Africa’s rand was the worst performer amid heightened domestic political risks. The premium investors demand to hold emerging-market bonds over U.S. Treasuries narrowed the most since March.

While the prevalence of negative interest rates across the developed world continued to support appetite for higher-yielding assets in emerging markets, the momentum has slowed amid signs the Fed will resume tightening policy this year. Equities in emerging countries have added $1.4 trillion in market value since May and exchange-traded funds capped a 13-week streak of inflows.

“For most emerging-market bulls the conditions for a further rally remains in place,” said Christopher Shiells, a senior emerging-markets analyst at Informa Global Markets Ltd., who recommends buying Latin American currencies, especially the real and Mexican peso. “The case for investing in traditional developed-market assets is changing as these markets are displaying risks we used to associate with emerging markets. Plenty of investors still have room to turn overweight on emerging markets if they decide to.”


The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slipped 0.2 percent to 897.13 by 11:10 a.m. in London. During August, information-technology stocks were the best performers among 10 industry groups, climbing 5.3 percent, while a gauge of telecommunications companies fell the most.

Investors pumped money into exchange-traded funds that buy emerging-market stocks and bonds last week, extending the longest winning streak in more than a year as inflows exceeded $19 billion over the past 13 weeks. The flows helped boost the market value of the 31 biggest emerging equity gauges to $15.8 trillion as of yesterday, compared with $14.4 trillion at the end of May.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 0.5 percent on Wednesday, paring its monthly gain to 6.5 percent. That’s the biggest advance in local-currency terms among 94 global benchmarks tracked by Bloomberg.


The MSCI gauge tracking developing-world currencies increased 0.2 percent on Wednesday, helping sustain a 0.1 percent appreciation for August. The won climbed 0.5 percent after a report showed South Korea’s July industrial output rose 1.6 percent from the previous year, exceeding the 0.4 percent increase estimated by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

The Philippine peso is set for the best performance among Asian currencies this month, supported by remittances and record-high foreign-exchange reserves.

While South Africa’s rand halted the longest losing streak in more than three years today, it’s still down 4 percent for the month, the worst performance among 24 emerging markets. The ruling African National Congress urged Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to cooperate with a police investigation into allegations that he set up an illicit investigative unit when he headed the national tax agency, while criticizing the way the police have handled the case.

Colombia’s peso strengthened 4.4 percent in August, while the ruble climbed 1.2 percent, the first gain for Russia’s currency in August in a decade. A jump in oil prices and high domestic rates helped lure investors hunting returns in riskier emerging-market assets.


The extra yield investors demand to hold emerging-market bonds versus U.S. Treasuries narrowed one basis point to 333, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes. The premium narrowed 33 basis points in August, the biggest decline since March, the data show.

Emerging-market dollar sovereign bonds have returned more than 7 percent in the past three months and yield an average of 4.2 percent, according to a Bloomberg index. Bonds in emerging Europe outperformed peers in August. Yields on 10-year Russian debt fell 29 basis points to 8.22 percent.


Weekly Market Outlook

There’s a slew of European data this morning, banker bonuses get hit hard, and August was a bad month for U.S. Treasuries. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Euro-area inflation, unemployment

Inflation in the euro-area was stable at 0.2 percent in August from a year earlier, below analyst estimates for an increase to 0.3 percent. The European Central Bank, which is due to make its next monetary policy decision on Sept. 8, says its current financial stimulus is justified but other actors must play their part. Unemployment in the common-currency area remained unchanged at 10.1 percent, with falls reported in Germany for August and an unexpected drop in Italy in July. In the the U.K., the Nationwide Building Society said house prices rose at their fastest pace in five months in August as short supply outweighed weaker demand.

Bonuses hit

The rout in financial stocks this year has wiped more than $2.5 billion from the value of deferred share bonuses for investment bankers at Europe’s biggest financial firms, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, responding to market rumours that the bank had considered a merger with rival Commerzbank AG, said that he is looking to shrink and simplify the bank. Shares in Deutsche Bank have lost about 42 percent in market value this year.

Spanish vote, judgment day in Brazil

Spain, without a government since last December, sees a vote in parliament today in which caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will try to win support to form a government. He currently has 170 of the 350-seat legislature backing him, but needs a majority to form a stable government. If he fails today, a plurality of votes on Friday will allow him to continue. But without an overall majority, Spain may face a third election in a year. Meanwhile, in Brazil, the final impeachment vote of former president Dilma Rousseff is scheduled for midday local time, with senators expected to vote in favor of her removal.

Markets mixed

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.1 percent, to bring its gain for August to 1.2 percent. Japan’s Topix index added 1.3 percent to wipe out losses for the month. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 6:11 a.m. ET, with banks leading the gains. S&P 500 futures were flat.

Treasuries extend drop

U.S. Treasuries, already heading for their worst month since June 2015 are extending their drop this morning. The yield on the benchmark 10-year rose to 1.58 percent by 6:15 a.m. ET. With market implied odds of an interest rate hike at the September meeting at 34 percent, all eyes will be on Friday’s payrolls data to get a better view of likely action by the Federal Reserve.