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Richest man in world donates far less than the average person

The world’s richest man, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, has donated just one per cent of his total wealth to charitable causes

The world’s richest man has donated a “pitiful” amount to charity, falling far behind his billionaire counterparts by barely scratching the surface of what he is capable of.

Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is top of Forbes World’s Billionaire list with $131 billion – or over AUD$183 billion – in net worth. Despite his wealth, the billionaire has only donated a tiny fraction to philanthropic causes, according to the New York Post.

Not only has Bezos donated so little, he has also donated the least in comparison to other billionaires. US President Donald Trump and Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg both donated significantly more than Bezos. All are topped by Bill and Melinda Gates.

The New York Post reported that the world’s billionaires “are takers, not givers” despite the ability to do much more. Although recently donating US$2 billion, Bezos’ previous giving amounts to US$145 million, which is just under 1 per cent of his net worth.

Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district Long Island is Amazon’s next corporate headquarters, told the New York Post: “The record of both Amazon and Jeff Bezos reveals that they are takers, not givers. When they make promises of how generous they will be, I look at what they have done in the past to know the truth.”

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Over nearly two decades, Bezos gave very little to his family’s foundation with US$6 million contributed in 17 years. It wasn’t until 2011 that Bezos made a contribution of just over US$940,000 in Amazon stock. Prior to that it was his parents, the Founders of the not-for-profit, who were primarily funding the foundation.

A Forbes report found the average billionaire donates just 3.76 per cent of their worth to charity. However, many donated less than 2.2 per cent than an average person with far less wealth. Bezos and 360 Founder Denis Coates is among them.

The Bridgespan Group in the US found that ultra-wealthy American families donated just 1.2 per cent of their assets to charity in 2017. In the UK, the median level of giving for wealthy families and individuals is just $AU913 a year.

Although many billionaires fall far behind what they are capable of doing, others have donated significant portions of their wealth to charity. Bill and Melinda Gates donated 37 per cent of their net worth, followed by Warren Buffet at 36 per cent.

The Gates and Buffet created the Giving Pledge to encourage America’s wealthiest to donate. As of 2018, there are 187 who pledge to donate a portion to charitable causes.

The Giving Pledge said “It is inspired by the example set by millions of people at all income levels who give generously – and often at great personal sacrifice – to make the world better. Envisioned as a multi-generational effort, the Giving Pledge aims over time to help shift the social norms of philanthropy towards giving more.”

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