How the ultra-rich are investing in the future

This article, first published by Forbes and written by Jon Ponciano and Kristin Stoller notes that it is ‘on trend’ to do good with your wealth. But it seems that wealthy people have given up taking a passive role with respect to how and where foundation money is invested. Impact investing, defined as investing in ventures that both make money and have a positive social or environmental impact is becoming increasingly popular.

The Forbes article quotes Global Impact Investing Network, the largest global convening of leaders in the impact investment industry, saying that in April 2019 there were more than 1340 organisations managing $502 billion in impact investing assets worldwide. This is more than double last year’s total.

The Impact 50 is a list of 50 high-impact donors compiled by Forbes. To compile the list, Forbes reporters researched all the U.S. billionaires as well as members of Forbes’ lists of the highest-paid athletes, highest-earning celebrities and most successful self-made men and women. To qualify, these impact investors had to have been at it for a year or more, either with deployed capital or personal investments. The list was vetted by a panel that included Forbes editors and two impact investing experts.

We have listed the top three donors below. You can read about the remaining 47 donors and their investing preferences by clicking here.

Bill and Melinda Gates: The Gates’ have a net worth of$106 billion have targeted healthcare and poverty in their foundation. Over the last decade, they have invested about $2 billion into 70 initiatives and businesses that primarily address healthcare and poverty. In the past year the Gates Foundation has backed Indonesian app and website Haladoc, which connects patients with doctors for online consultations, and India-based firm CropIn, which uses data to analyze crops. It also put $55 million into German company BioNTech, which is working to develop vaccines and immunotherapy for HIV and tuberculosis. Any profits from the investments are plowed back into the foundation.

Alice and Jim Walton: The Waltons, who have a combined net worth of $103 billion have targeted education as the beneficiary of their trust fund. The siblings have been longtime proponents of charter schools, and have spearheaded a program that will issue $300 million in bonds to help these schools invest in new or renovated facilities. A charter school is a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established state school system in which it is located. The goal is for their low-cost financing to reduce the amount that schools spend (an average of 15% of funding) on securing facilities.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: Facebook co-founder Zuckerberg and his wife have a net worth of $69.6 billion and have also targeted education as their favourite cause. They have invested $110 million in more than a dozen start-ups via their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a limited liability company that backs for-profit firms plus makes grants to non-profits.  In the past year, CZI has invested in childcare software provider Brightwheel and inclusive college graduate recruiting platform Handshake; it also upped its stake in Andela, a recruitment platform that links technology companies to teams of engineers who work remotely and full-time from Africa.

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