Big business can sometimes have a bad rap with the average person on the street. Many believe that the CEOs of top companies are only interested in profits and making money, rather than looking after people. A closer look at the facts and figures shows this not to be true in many cases though. Recent figures from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, for example, showed that $14.7bn was given by America’s top 50 donors to charity in just one year. These top donors would have been high-level business people and entrepreneurs mainly.
Digging deeper into this though, you see that there is one business sector that is heavily invested in philanthropy: tech. Why is this?
Tech leads the way in helping those in need
When you take the figure of $14.7bn given to charity in 2017 by philanthropist donors, you also see that $8.7bn of this total came from figures within the tech industry. That is almost 60% of the overall money given! This stat alone shows that tech is the sector that gives more back and contains more business people with philanthropist leanings.
What is it about people involved in technology that seems to make them more inclined to get involved with charity work to help others?
One fact that many point to is that many big tech entrepreneurs come from a younger generation that is more focused on helping others and solving global problems. This is likely to only grow more as the millennial generation begins to work and build up fortunes. Others point to the very nature of tech-minded people as problem solvers. As their whole business is about developing new solutions to make our lives easier, it seems that doing this for charity on a personal level is a natural follow-on.
Who are the big players when it comes to tech-minded philanthropy?
Charles Phillips is head of leading tech firm Infor. Under his leadership, Infor has flourished and now leads the way in developing enterprise software solutions and cloud-based deployment to many sectors. A recent investment of $1.5bn from Koch Equity Group looks to make the future even brighter for him and the business he leads.
Phillips is also the classic example of a tech entrepreneur who likes to help others. His Phillips Charitable Organization provides much-needed support to wounded veterans, single parents, and students wanting to study engineering. Operating as a non-profit foundation, the financial aid provided has helped many people over the years.
World famous founder of the Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates has a net worth of almost $100bn. When you think of how successful Microsoft has been from the very start of the computing boom, it is no surprise. What may surprise some was his decision to donate some of the Microsoft stock he owned in 1994 to set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Set up with his wife Melinda, it is one of the world’s wealthiest charitable foundations with a value of around $35bn! The foundation’s main focus is on global problems such as health and development of new foods for poorer nations that need help.
Founder of tech pioneer eBay, Pierre Omidyar also has a flair for helping those in need. His Omidyar Network was set up in 2004 as a philanthropic investment firm. Over the years, this has seen the firm invest over $900m to various non-profit organizations. This has included a personal donation from Omidyar of over $250m in 2017.
Although active in a number of areas, education and financial inclusion are some of the major causes that the network gets involved with. As per others on this list, it just shows that the vast sums of money in the tech sector are often used for good.
Tech-based philanthropy is much needed
What is clear when looking at the world we now live in is how essential this type of tech-based philanthropy is. Leading tech names such as Charles Phillips provide not only much-needed financial help but also practical assistance to tackle common problems. Whether it is issues within one country or on a more global scale, the impact that philanthropists of this nature can have is huge.
In many ways, they can have a greater impact on issues and problems than entire governments. Where governments are hamstrung by budgets and diplomacy, leading business figures have the freedom to say what they think and what is true. When you look at tech-based pioneers in particular, they also have the global reach and infrastructure to really make things happen at a faster pace. As the world continues to see the effects of things such as war and climate change, the aid given by tech-based philanthropists will become ever more key.
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