Traditionally speaking, entrepreneurs are known for their impact on the business world and in the technology space. They pave the way for industries to grow and introduce products that change lives.
Recently, however, a new crop of entrepreneurs has risen and they are changing what it means to give back. Not just concerned with creating a pile of wealth for themselves, these entrepreneurs have essentially redefined philanthropy. And for the better.
During a trip to Argentina, Blake Mycoskie witnessed first-hand the effects of poverty. Many of the children in Argentina were so poor, that they could not afford shoes unless they received a donation. Feeling compelled to help, Mycoskie found a solution that was in entrepreneurship, not charity. Mycoskie returned to Los Angeles and founded Shoes for a Better Tomorrow, which was then later shortened to TOMS.
Mycoskie pioneered the “One for One” business model, where every pair of shoes sold, a pair of shoes would be given to someone in need. Due to his innovative thinking, other companies soon adopted his “One to One” business model and directly make an impact on philanthropy.
The creator of Salesforce.com — a cloud computing company established in 1999 — was already known for his work with Oracle in the 1990’s, but Marc Benioff wanted to develop something different after taking Salesforce to the top. His Salesforce.com foundation aims to promote philanthropy through his “1–1–1 model”, which devotes 1% of product, 1% of equity, and 1% of employee hours to the communities in which Salesforce operates. Not only has this allowed him to help build hospitals and charitable organizations in San Francisco, but it has also helped launch similar initiatives in other businesses around the world.
Taking the mantle from Andrew Carnegie as one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates actually left the company he founded (Microsoft) in 2014 to devote all of his attention to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — a non-profit that specializes in global affairs. Since its inception, the foundation has partnered with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Warren Buffet and has as its goal to reduce poverty, develop new technology, and deliver better access to education and healthcare.
They’ve also developed the Global Health Initiative, which funds research into new medical technology that can prevent the spread of disease. If all this wasn’t enough, Gates, along with Warren Buffet, also helped start the Giving Pledge, which encourages the uber-successful to donate half of their wealth to charity on their death. To date, 14 billionaires have signed it.
Originally published at ericsamek.org.
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