Forbes brings together 12 of world's top philanthropists

Sep 18, 2012

To mark 30th anniversary of Forbes 400 ranking, magazine collected a lot of wealth in one room


FORBES magazine will tomorrow launch the 30th anniversary edition of the Forbes 400 - its annual list of America's wealthiest people. Top of the list last year were Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Larry Ellison and the Koch brothers, Charles and David. Will the top have changed?

To mark the occasion, the magazine promises to unveil the wealthiest portrait ever taken on its cover 12 of the greatest philanthropists in the world, whose combined wealth is $126 billion.

Magazines are obsessed with lists, and readers of financial magazines are obsessed with wealth, so editors of the publication are hoping to generate attention.

The issue of America's wealthiest turning to philanthropy dates back to the 19th Century robber barons like Rockefeller and Carnegie. Perhaps with the exception of Steve Jobs, who seemed to care little for such endeavour, many of America's wealthiest - most notably Bill Gates - are now devoted exclusively to the active, result-orientated disposal of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.

Forbes wants to keep us guessing ahead of tomorrow's unveiling - but has offered these clues as to the identities of the mystery 12:

Number 1 has served over 10,000 meals for his latest project, Soul Kitchen, since its debut a year ago.

Number 2 pledges to donate 99 per cent of his net worth to charity.

Number 3 says: "In terms of giving where you really want to make a sustainable change, that has to be thoughtful and strategic."

Number 4 helped eradicate polio from India, and has now turned his attention toward access to contraceptives and better toilets.

Number 5 has contributed $560 million to a planned $4.3 billion effort led by the British government and officials from African nations to fight high rates of unplanned pregnancy.

Number 6 says: "Do something you're passionate about, because it's not just the financial capital you put into these projects, it's the human capital ­ the excitement, the energy ­ that multiplies the effectiveness of what you're doing.

Number 7 donated $48 million toward a new visual arts center at Dartmouth College.

Number 8 has pledged $100 million towards a children's hospital.

Number 9 donated $7.5 million to repair cracks in the Washington Monument.

Number 10 has a foundation that uses the Internet to make philanthropy more efficient.

Number 11 authored a book on giving and teaches philanthropy classes at Stanford.

Number 12, rather than waiting to give, pledges to give away more than half of his earnings to philanthropic causes as his firms earn it.

Who are they? Watch this space.

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