There’s been a fair amount of frustration over the activities of America’s celebrities, billionaires and big businesses during a time of crisis, whether it’s their vacation-style isolation or whether it’s major corporations latching onto loan and grant money meant to keep small businesses afloat.
And it’s with not a little resentment that the less fortunate are watching certain huge companies rake in the bucks while over 26 million people have had to apply for unemployment benefits since mid-March.
It’s true that the world’s richest 500 people lost $1.3 trillion since the start of 2020, equal to 22% of their total net worth. It’s also true, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, that the 180 Americans on the ranking have lost $433 billion.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos isn’t among the ‘losers’, though. He has grown his vast fortune by a further $24 billion so far during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s an approximately 20% increase over the last four months, which puts his net worth at around $138 billion.
But some billionaires are actually contributing to those in need. It’s only fair to point out the philanthropy going on during this pandemic.
Some billionaires have made large donations during the pandemic, with some giving more than others.
Some are helping to find a cure. Some are using their money to help support their own companies and employees. As it usually goes, some are being secretive and some not.
Out of more than 2,000 billionaires worldwide, according to the Forbes Billionaire Tracker, 77 of them revealed how they are helping to fight the pandemic.
And due to the lockdown, an even busier social media community is closely tracking celebrities and the ultra wealthy. (And no, there is no evidence that Bill Gates orchestrated the engineering of the coronavirus, creating the pandemic.
The COVID Philanthropy Report Card
#1 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Dorsey has emerged as the most generous so far.
The Twitter CEO recently announced he would redirect $1 billion of his Square stock—about a quarter of his net worth—into an LLC, called Start Small, to support COVID-19 relief efforts and other causes. Once the pandemic is over, Start Small will shift its focus to girls' health and education, and research into universal basic income.
#2 Bill Gates
The second-largest pledge comes from Bill Gates who boasts a net worth of $103.4 billion. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $250 million, much of it to be spent on vaccines, treatment and diagnostic development.
#3 Azim Premji
Indian tech magnate and philanthropist Azim Premji earmarked $150 million to fight Covid-19 via his charity foundation and Wipro, the IT company he founded. The funds will go towards immediate humanitarian aid efforts.
#4 Andrew Forrest
Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has pledged a $105-million funding package which includes medical supplies and testing.
#5 Jeff Bezos
Bezos has pledged $100 million. But he also saw his net worth soar when he sold $3.4 billion of Amazon stock just before the COVID-19 collapse.
#6 Michael Dell Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies has pledged $100 million. Dell is also taking a pay cut because of coronavirus, with SEC filings showing he will forego his $950,000 base salary.
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#7 David Tepper
Hedge Fund billionaire David Tepper, whose net worth is around $12 billion based on Forbes’ estimates, has reportedly donated $22 million to COVID-19 relief efforts. Of that, $3 million is said to have gone to the Feeding America food bank, to which Bezos also pledged his $100 million.
#8 Donald Trump
Even though skeptical about the pandemic until last month, billionaire-president Donald Trump, also made the Forbes Billionaire Tracker roundup, securing last place.
President Trump made a $100,000 donation—one-quarter of his salary—to the Department of Health and Human Services. The check represents 0.005% of his $2.1-billion net worth.
By Charles Benavidez for Safehaven.com
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