Activists advocate hard for social, economic and political issues. They strive not just to make this world a better place to live in, but also to make our planet a more gentle community to be part of and a more equitable society to belong to.
Everyone should contribute their own little share because if everyone will follow an activist’s vigilant mode, the result will be felt sooner. Of course, if the activist’s voice is that of a rich and famous individual, then the impact of his advocacy will be multiplied several times over.
Here now are the 10 richest activists. They may have different advocacies and issues to espouse, but with the money they individually earn, they can certainly make a difference in society.
10. Sean Penn – $150 million
Sean Penn is an actor, writer and director. He has won two Academy Awards for his roles in the movies Mystic River and Milk. He also won acclaim for films like Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, I Am Sam, She’s So Lovely, Hurlyburly and 21 Grams. He is also known for his left wing political activism and social and humanitarian work. He was critical of the Bush administration and has initiated contact with the leaderships of communist countries Cuba and Venezuela. He was also actively involved in the relief operations after Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.
9. George Clooney – $160 million
George Clooney is an acclaimed actor, director, writer and producer. He won an Academy Award for his supporting role in Syriana and for producing the movie called Argo. He has served as a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations since 2008 and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He was also involved in finding a solution to the Darfur conflict. He also helped raise funds for victims of the 9/11 tragedy, 2004 tsunami and 2010 Haiti earthquake.
8. Brad Pitt – $180 million
Brad Pitt has often been described as one of the sexiest men in the world. More than that however is his acting prowess, having won several nominations and acclaim for performances in movies like 12 Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Moneyball. Even more than that is his social and humanitarian work. He supports the ONE Campaign that aims to fight AIDS and poverty in the third world. He founded Not On Our Watch that aims to stop mass atrocities. He also founded the Make It Right Foundation that aims to build sustainable housing after the Katrina disaster.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio – $200 million
Leonardo DiCaprio has given unforgettable performances in Titanic, Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York and The Aviator. He is also an environmentalist who puts his money where his mouth is by using solar panels in his house and driving electric or hybrid vehicles. He also helped build a computer center in the Los Angeles Public Library and worked with the SOS Children’s Village in Mozambique. He is also involved with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
6. Bono – $800 million
Bono is the front man of the super rock band called U2. He is considered as one of the most politically effective celebrities. He is involved with Amnesty International and has campaigned for debt relief for the third world. He is also actively involved in the fight against AIDS.
5. George Soros – $1.1 billion
George Soros is a legendary hedge funds manager who has made billions of dollars as chairman of Soros Fund Management. He is also an active supporter of progressive and liberal political causes. He is believed to have donated $8 billion for human rights, education and public health causes. He has given huge endowments to the Central European University in Budapest. He also helped his native Hungary in its transition from communism to capitalism in the late 80’s to the early 90’s.
4. James Simons – $1.3 billion
James Simons is a mathematician and hedge fund manager who founded Renaissance Technologies, an investment company based in New York with funds of over $15 billion. His advocacies are in education and health. He has made generous donations to the University of California Berkeley, Stony Brook University and the Brookhaven National Laboratory. He also has made donations to help improve the healthcare system in Nepal.
3. David Tepper – $2.2 billion
David Tepper is the founder and president of Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund company based in New York. He is considered as one of the greatest hedge fund managers because of the consistently high yields of the funds that he manages. He has made donations to Carnegie Mellon’s business school, the University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, United Jewish communities and the non-profit organization called Better Education for Kids. He also tries to alleviate poverty by sending out gift cards to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Jersey and Hoboken.
2. Oprah Winfrey – $2.8 billion
Oprah Winfrey is an immensely successful talk show host, producer and actress. She has donated more than $400 million to educational causes, including 400 scholarships to Morehouse College. She also donated $12 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She has also raised $80 million for charitable projects through the Oprah’s Angel Network. She also helped establish a school in South Africa called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. She even takes time to teach a class in the school via satellite.
1. Bill Gates – $72.7 billion
Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, the operating system that helped make personal computers a household gadget. More than that, Gates will be probably be known for his extreme generosity. Along with his wife, Gates plans to donate up to 95 percent of his wealth to charity through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has already donated more than $28 billion and is actively involved in convincing other billionaires to give away half their wealth. The foundation is mostly involved in education and public health advocacies around the world.
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