Sunday, May 26, 2024

5 Top-Level Execs Who Give Back

Between managing a business and personal life, it can be hard to believe that entrepreneurs have time to sleep, much less donate their time and money to charity. Nonetheless, a recent study has shown that business owners donate 50% more than those who don’t own businesses and also tend to volunteer more of their time. However, entrepreneurs don’t stop at annual donations, as 68% of those planning to sell their business in the next five years plan to donate to charity as part of the transition. 

Let’s take a look at five executives making the most of their career by giving back to their community and the world.

Azim Premji 

Like so many of the world’s wealthy, Azim Premji dropped out of a prestigious university in 1966 to focus his time on running a business. However, instead of starting his own hedge fund or tech startup, Premji left Stanford to take over his family-owned cooking oil business after the death of his father. 

After some large changes to the company’s focus, Premji quickly found success providing software servicing to much of India. Once valued at over 20 billion USD, Premji’s net worth has fallen to 4.4 billion USD after his multiple donations toward education and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Steve Streit 

Between his work in broadcasting and founding both SWS Venture Capital and the Green Dot Corporation, Steve Streit has made a name for himself in the financial and entertainment worlds. Despite a demanding professional life, Streit has found the time to create Patti’s Way, a charitable organization dedicated to providing funds to single parents in financial emergencies. 

Patti’s Way has teamed up with partner charities to provide emergency grants to those in need. Like many of the executives on this list, Steve Streit is more than just a business executive and contributes significant time and resources to charitable causes.

Lynn Jurich

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sunrun’s CEO Lynn Jurich has contributed to environmental protection agencies. Because Sunrun is now the largest solar power installation and leasing company in the U.S., one could argue Jurich is already paving the way to a brighter future even without considering her philanthropy. 

For Jurich, however, playing a vital role in producing sustainable energy has not been enough. She’s gone beyond that to serve as a prominent board member with The Sierra Club Foundation. By relinquishing the prestige and control that creating her own organization would give, Jurich shows her genuine interest in protecting the environment. 

Richard Liu

Once a physical retail store, now rivals online retail giants such as Alibaba. Its CEO, Richard Liu, has profited tremendously and is now directly using shares of the company as philanthropic fodder. Though we don’t know exactly where the roughly 2.3 billion USD will go, Liu has pledged the money towards narrowing China’s wealth gap. 

George Soros

If you’ve done your research regarding how to invest, you’ll need no introduction to George Soros. Soros, however, should be admired for more than just his investment techniques, as the billionaire investor has donated over $16 billion. 

With a current estimated net worth of 8.6 billion USD, Soros has given nearly two-thirds of his earnings away. Soros’s Open Society Foundation actively fights for democracy and equality around the world. His foundation also contributes to education, journalism, and other worthy causes

Headlines don’t always paint the best picture of successful executives and entrepreneurs. And it’s true that some have no intention of bettering the world around them. It is important to realize, however, that many are dedicating their extra time and money to improving the lives of those less fortunate. Sure, you may not be able to donate in the same magnitude as these executives have. But if we all took a page from their philanthropy playbook, the world would soon become a better place.


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Jennifer Evans
Jennifer Evans
principal, @patternpulseai. author, THE CEO GUIDE TO INDUSTRY AI. former chair @technationCA, founder @b2bnewsnetwork #basicincome activist. Machine learning since 2009.