Helping the larger community has become an important part of being wealthy. More than just a way to avoid taxes, many find that giving is more satisfying than making the money in the first place. The steel magnate Andrew Carnegie laid out the philosophy of helping others as a duty of the elite in an essay in the late 19th century. That philosophy has become a touchstone through the years with pop celebrities, financiers and industrialists embracing Carnegie’s call. Some, like Blake Mycoskie and Paul Newman, have even incorporated giving into their business models.
AdvisorOne offers this list of our favorites from U.S. history to the present. Many others were worthy of inclusion, of course.
10. Paul Newman: Making Charity His Own
Paul Newman is, of course, a Hollywood icon. But he is as much a legend for what he did away from the silver screen than what he did on it. Grocery store shelves are lined with Newman’s Own products–spaghetti sauce, salsa, chips, lemonade and the signature salad dressing that started it all–and the profits go to charity. The Newman’s Own Foundation has given more than $300 million away over the years, with Newman’s favorite charity, a string of 11 camps around the world dedicated to allowing seriously ill children to ”raise a little hell” being a major benefactor. 9. Christina Aguilera: Motherhood Sparks Need to Give
OK, she doesn’t have the gravitas of Carnegie and the others, but Christina Aguilera, who has had a successful career with hits like “Beautiful,” “Car Wash” and “Can’t Hold Us Down,” has been active in charitable causes, too.
The inspiration, she told InStyle magazine, was becoming a mother. Since then she’s been particularly active in the World Food Program, saying she just can’t stand the thought of children going to bed hungry. Who can argue that that doesn’t have gravitas?
8. Howard Hughes: A Legacy Overcomes an Image
Howard Hughes’ reputation has taken a beating over the years. The sad image of a mentally ill man has replaced that of the dashing aircraft pioneer, movie mogul and billionaire who dated the world’s most beautiful women. But one part of his legacy can’t be erased: the creation of the Howard Hughes Medial Institute in 1953. The institute is dedicated to biomedical research and has greatly expanded since the billionaire’s death in 1984. The institute has an endowment of $14 billion and in 2010 spent nearly $900 million on scientific research, grants and capital expenditures.
7. George Harrison: Inventing the Charity Concert
Without George Harrison, there wouldn’t have been a Live Aid, a Farm Aid or any of the other rock concerts for charity that have raked in cash for good causes over the last 40 years. On Aug. 1, 1971, Harrison’s idea of a benefit to help ease a famine came to life. The Concert for Bangladesh raised about $240,000 and Harrison’s subsequent single, “Bangladesh,” has raised more than $17 million for UNICEF projects in that country and others. Harrison was joined by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and others. Another Beatle was there to give a little help to a friend: Ringo Starr.
The other Beatles had their philanthropic pursuits, too. Paul McCartney is well known for his support of animals through PETA, and John Lennon held his own charity concert, this one to help mentally handicapped children in 1972. He also gave much time and energy to peace causes in the 1970s.
6. Johns Hopkins: A Bequest Funds an Iconic Institution
Johns Hopkins was a financier, real-estate speculator and, above all, a philanthropist. His works were well known in the Baltimore of the mid-19th century. Now, nearly 140 years after his death, his fame has spread around the globe. That’s because of a single bequest in his will. Hopkins left $7 million, the bulk of it in Baltimore & Ohio railroad stock, for the establisment of a free hospital and university. Johns Hopkins University is an elite school and its hospital is renowned for its top-flight care and research.