William Adams, better known as will.i.am, has been able to stay on top of a fledgling music industry. A core member of The Black Eyed Peas, he, along with the other members of the group, have sold 31 million albums and 58 million singles. The hip-hop group's last tour, in 2010, reportedly netted them $48 million dollars.
However, it's not just music in which will.i.am has found success; he's struck gold several times—in investing, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
On the entrepreneurial side, he was an early investor in Twitter and also found himself in another winning enterprise by becoming a founding shareholder of Beats Electronics. Apple has acquired the headphone and music-streaming company for $3 billion.
Using his entrepreneurial prowess, will.i.am has now turned to philanthropy, opening doors to millennials in the hopes of creating the next Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. He's launched i.am Scholarship, which offers "future visionaries, leaders and innovators with financial assistance for post-secondary education" and is a strong supporter of First, an annual robotics competition for youths—his own children compete.
"The world is moving at crazy speeds, and American education is so behind," he told CNBC's Brian Sullivan at this year's Milken Institute Global Conference. With that in mind, will.i.am specifically focuses on those children that resemble his own upbringing, in which there are often little and inadequate opportunities in education. He says that his philanthropic work is not "sympathetic charity"; instead, it's about connecting and giving back to those communities that have been an integral part of his life.