14 Billion-dollar donors…with a touch of sports

A quick scanning of the bios showed a couple of sports-targeted, at least in part, philanthropists.  Outside of super-entrepreneur Ted Turner at #14, the most sports-centric is Dietmar Hopp. Hopp, co-founder of software giant SAP, created the Dietmar Hopp Foundation, which supports sports participation. Turns out Hopp also is the chief financial supporter for soccer team 1899 Hoffenheim. (http://www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID=1419).

Of course, many of the causes supported by these increedible individuals are common to those many non-profits who tap into the power of sport to promote similar messages of better health, education, poverty allevement, and disease eradication.

The full article, including the slide show highlighting the philanthropists, can be found at http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/24/billion-dollar-donors-gates-business-billionaire-philanthropy.html, with excerpts provided below.


Billion-Dollar Donors
These 14 philanthropists are the most generous people on the planet.
David Whelan, Tatiana Serafin and Cristina von Zeppelin, 08.24.09, 01:50 PM EDT

The most exclusive subset of the world’s wealthy may be this one: those living philanthropists who have already given away $1 billion or more. For the first time ever, Forbes has put together a list of the world’s billion-dollar donors. Of the 793 billionaires in the world, only 11 made it into this group.

Three others including SAP ( SAP news people ) co-founder Dietmar Hopp, mutual fund guru James Stowers and former banking billionaire Herbert Sandler qualified for this top givers club though their donations helped knock them out of the ranks of the world’s wealthiest. “I’m surprised there aren’t more,” says Sandler, “It’s a shame there aren’t a lot more.”

Scholars of philanthropy have noticed some interesting patterns about these super-philanthropists. Inherited wealth more often stays horded. “People who make their own money, entrepreneurs, are the most generous,” says Leslie Lenkowsky, a professor at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. “They understand they’ve been very fortunate, and their good fortune in society depended on the schools they attended and their communities.”

All but one of Forbes’ billion-dollar givers are self-made, including New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Hong Kong’s richest person, Li Ka-shing, who dropped out of school at age 15. Five of these billion-dollar donors made their fortunes in technology including Gates, Moore, Michael Dell and two founders of German software outfit SAP. The only silver spoon among the super generous is Swiss billionaire Stephen Schmidheiny, who donated his company, Grupo Nueva, to a trust that distributes its profits to social causes in Latin America.

Another phenomenon that can’t be missed about the super generous is the predominance of Americans. Ten of the 14 are from the U.S., even though only 45% of the world’s billionaires reside here. The U.S. has a storied history of generous philanthropists including notable figures such as Andrew Carnegie and David Rockefeller. The same is not true in many parts of the world. Says Peter Fuchs, head of Viva Trust, Schmidheiny’s foundation, “One of the big advantages of the U.S. is its great philanthropists. Latin America does not have the institutions to support philanthropic giving. It is very difficult to change mindsets.”

(The full article can be found at http://www.forbes.com/2009/08/24/billion-dollar-donors-gates-business-billionaire-philanthropy.html)