Prince Alwaleed and 8 Other Billionaires Who Gave Away Their Fortunes

Daniel Banas  |

Looking to get your web series funded? If you were planning to hit up Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, well, bad news: the 60-year-old Saudi Arabian royal recently announced he will donate his $32 billion personal fortune to charity. Inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic endeavors through their Gates Foundation, Prince Alwaleed says the money would be used to “foster cultural understanding,” “empower women,” and “provide vital disaster relief,” among other things.

Prince Alwaleed’s generous charitable giving is astounding, and seems exceedingly rare in a world where wealth seems to be increasingly hoarded away by heirs for generations. That got us asking: What are some examples of charitable giving that could rival that of Prince Alwaleed? And for god sake, who is going to fund all of our web series?

1. Bill and Melinda Gates

It’s easy to see why Bill and his wife Melinda have been such an inspiration to Prince Alwaleed, the two have given away more than $28 billion via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, including more than $8 billion to improve health. Some notable efforts include combatting malaria, polio, and other diseases and working to reform education in the US. Sadly, all that giving has had at least one negative toll, as Gates has yet to allot more than $20 a year to his annual spending on haircuts.

2. Warren Buffet 

As a trustee at the Gates Foundation, Buffet has done a great deal to further the causes championed by Bill and Melinda. He also provides a great deal of funding for his own family’s foundations supporting food and water security, women’s empowerment, and education. Over the course of his life, Buffet has given away nearly $20 billion of his not-unsubstantial fortune.

3. Herbert and Marion Sandler 

Former Co-CEOs of Golden West Financial Corporation and World Savings Bank. Under the Sandler’s management, Golden West generated an incredible 19% annual compound growth in earnings per share over a 39 year period. But, apparently, the Sandlers weren’t content with making giant sums for their shareholders as they donated $1.3 billion to their own Sandler Foundation in 2006 and helped found the Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to fighting predatory lending. It’s unknown what has inspired such largesse, though one wonders if it has something to do with sharing a last name with the guy who brought Grownups 2 into our world.

4. Joan B. Kroc

As the man most responsible for turning McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) into a global fast-food juggernaut, Ray Kroc provided an incredible service to the globe by offering a place for weary travelers to find clean bathrooms and terrible hamburgers. However, his gift was rivaled by the generosity of his widow Joan B. Kroc, who donated $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army in 2004. The International Christian organization runs charity shops and shelters in 126 countries, as well as providing humanitarian relief to those who have suffered the effects of disasters like earthquakes, monsoons, and McDonald’s apple pies.

5. Bill Gross 

As of this year, billionaire bond investor Bill Gross had already given away about $700 million of his fortune. As you might have guessed, he has provided ample funding for the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery in Washington, as well as giving $23.5 million to his alma mater Duke University, and $20 million to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

In 2013, the year Pacific Investment Management Co., which he co-founded, paid him a $290 million bonus, fellow billionaire Carl Icahn tweeted a challenge at Gross to join other billionaires in leaving the bulk of his wealth to charity. Two days later, Gross responded that he and his wife Sue would eventually be giving away their entire $2 billion+ fortune. That makes Icahn’s taunt by far the most thoughtful thing ever done by a hedge fund manager.

6. William Scheide

Scheide made his fortune in the Pennsylvania oil boom of the late 19th century and surprised many by retiring at 42. Why it would be surprising for a filthy rich 42-year-old to retire is anyone’s guess, but what is surprising is that rather than purchasing yachts to impress supermodels, or simply cutting to the chase and purchasing supermodels, Scheide elected to purchase books and read them.

Scheide’s collection included such rarities as the six earliest prints of the Bible, the original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Beethoven’s music sketchbook, and, I’m assuming, a version of Half-Blood Prince where Dumbledore kills Snape. Shortly after Scheide’s death at age 100, his alma mater Princeton University received a donation of Scheide’s collection that totaled more than $300 million…the most generous gift in the university’s history. However, since the news broke, many Yale alumni have expressed concern over how they’ll find someone on the Princeton campus who’s able to read.


So there you have it – quantifiable proof that there are some billionaires out there who are not horrible people, but who actually do some pretty remarkable things…and that there’s no reason why your aunt shouldn’t be able to cough up $200 to help fund that web series. I mean, come on, you’re offering a free T-shirt with your logo, what more does she want?

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


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