The better people feel about their own finances, the more likely they'll donate to charity, whether it's in response to a global disaster or an organization with the right cause. So, you can imagine what that means for the wealthy -- and the famous -- who often start their own charitible foundations.
The world's most wealthiest man, Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda, formed the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation with hopes of eradicating many global disesases. In June 2006, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, the second most wealthiest man in the world, pledged approximately 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, a gift worth about $30 billion at the time.
Actors, musicians, sports figures and other pop culture notables have also made charity causes their number one mission. Billionaire talkshow host and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey recently established the first of many planned Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, investing $40 million in thie project.
Here are some notable philanthropists and their respective causes.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (seen here with his wife, Melinda) displays the insignia of an honorary knighthood at Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday March 2, 2005, after receiving it from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. Gates, the richest man in the world, cannot use the title "Sir" as he is not a British citizen, but received the KBE insignia, in recognition of his charitable donations in Commonwealth countries.(AP Photo/Chris Young, pool)
Intel co-founder Gordon Moore (pictured right), with wife Betty and British theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking. Established in September 2000, the immensely generous Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for future generations. The Foundation’s science-based, results-driven orientation stems from the principles and interests of Gordon and Betty Moore. The Foundation operates proactively in three specific areas of focus—environmental conservation, science, and the San Francisco Bay Area—where a significant and measurable impact can be achieved.
Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York, after Buffett's announcement that he would pledge 10 million shares of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to charitable organizations, the majority of which going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Sir Bob Geldof and Annie Lennox pose for the Live 8 concert series. Supporting the Global Call to Action against Poverty cause, the concert was produced by a number of individuals, including Richard Curtis, Sir Bob Geldorf, Harvey Goldsmith, John Kennedy and Kevin Wall with Ken Ehrlich, Larry Magid, Tim Sexton, Greg Sills and Russell Simmons. The beneficiary of excess revenue after the costs of the concerts is the Band Aid Charitable Trust.
First lady Laura Bush speaks at the Women's Day Red Dress Award Presentatio in New York, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007. The event kicks off American Heart Month by honoring women who have made strides in the fight against heart disease, the number one killer of women today. (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada)
Irish rocker Bono, frontman for U2, and Oprah Winfrey walk down Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006, for a shopping spree to promote Bono's new RED line of clothing, accessories and gadgets that will raise money to fight AIDS in Africa. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Academy Award-winning actor George Clooney, center, flanked by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), right, and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan)., takes part in a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to bring awareness to the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. (AP Photo/Mannie Garcia)
Clooney is also planning on giving 25% of the profits from his future casino, Las Ramblas, to the poor of Africa. Las Ramblas, still in the early stages of construction, will have a formal dress code inspired by Clooney’s memories of Las Vegas’ glamorous past.
In October 2006, Chris DeWolfe, CEO of MySpace, led the Rock For Darfur campaign, a concert series touring across the United States showcasing big-name bands devoted to raising funds - and consciousness - for the Darfur crisis. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Oxfam America's Sudan Crisis Relief and Rehabilitation Fund. According to their Web site's description, Oxfam America is "an international relief and development organization that works to end poverty, hunger and injustice."
Oprah Winfrey and learners cut the ribbon at the official opening of her Leadership Academy for Girls School at Henley-on-Klip, South Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007. Winfrey opened the world class school for poor but talented South African girls fulfilling a long-cherished dream and a promise to her hero, Nelson Mandela. (AP Photo/Denis Farell)