World’s richest man is a strategic philanthropist
The world’s top ranking billionaire according to the latest listing by Forbes magazine , Carlos Slim Helú, hasn’t yet revealed how many of his billions he plans to give away but says the focus of his philanthropy is impact.
He is scepticle of doling out large sums of money to 'traditional charity' “because charity has not solved poverty in hundreds of years”, he says in the Forbes magazine interview.
He says he “is more concerned about effectiveness and having an impact than with making headlines by promising big sums for charity”. The 72-year-old Mexican widower and father of six, whose estimated net worth is $69bn (£44bn), funds education and health projects in his home nation.
Carlos Slim Helú is strident about the role businesspeople can play in philanthropy. “I think that businessmen and entrepreneurs have more experience managing resources, and we can more easily solve the problems than politicians, who have other views. They are thinking about elections, they are thinking about popularity, I don’t think that giving money should be something done for personal popularity,” he says in the magazine interview.
He believes in using digital tools for education to help people get themselves out of poverty. For example, he has established thousands of digital libraries, allowing people to borrow laptops. His aim is to ensure 60% of the Latin American population has access to computers by 2015.
So far Carlos Slim Helú has donated a $3.5bn (£2.2bn) endowment to his own Carlos Slim Foundation. The Foundation’s website boasts a wide range of activities including $45m to set up Grameen-Carso, which will provide micro-finance credits to poor people in Mexico. The Foundation has also invested $100m (£63.5m) to support the conservation of biodiversity and promote sustainable development in Mexico. It has also spent $20m (£12.7m) funding organ transplants. Carlos Slim Helú's wife died of kidney disease and one of his sons also has the disease.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are ranked as the second and third richest men in the world with a net worth of $61bn (£39bn) and $44bn (£28bn) respectively. Gates has already given away $28bn (£17.8bn) and established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to tackle polio, poverty and improve education around the world. Buffett has pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation.
The highest ranking UK-citizen in the Forbes list is the Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, at number 78 with a net worth of $11bn (£7bn), predominantly held in property and land. His family trust owns 190 acres of Belgravia, the most expensive part of London, 96,000 acres in Scotland and 32,000 acres in Spain. He has recently donated a £6m country house, Stanford Hall in Leicestershire, to become a rehabilitation centre for wounded soldiers.