There is no shortage of worthy causes that need help in 2021, and a few notable philanthropists have stepped up to the plate once again to make a difference. The following is a list of some of these philanthropists, their donations, and the differences they’ve made.


Bill Gates

The founder of Microsoft has been making headlines since 2000 when he and his then-wife started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With the goal of improving the quality of life for individuals across the globe, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has tackled everything from education in Chicago to healthcare in Nigeria. Estimated to be worth about $130 billion, Bill has donated over $50 billion to causes over the years. His most significant contributions were $4.6 billion worth of shares in Microsoft stock to his foundation and $957 million to GAVI Alliance to increase access to vaccinations.


Warren Buffett

The CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway has donated most of his net worth ($46 billion out of a valuation of $79 billion) to various foundations throughout the years. These include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and more. But Buffett is not content to merely donate most of his wealth; he urges other wealthy individuals to do the same. Along with Bill Gates, he started The Giving Pledge in 2010, challenging the rich to give away most of their money in the name of philanthropy.


Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey embodies the idea of a “self-made” philanthropist. She grew up poor in Mississippi and endured sexual abuse but became the world-famous media mogul today. Not content with pulling herself up, she’s made every effort to help others. The Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation has donated millions of dollars in support of people all over the globe. She’s also supported Time’s Up, the Museum of African American History and Culture, and more.


Serena Williams

Tennis superstar Serena Williams is also a superstar philanthropist. As a child, she and her sister opened a resource center in Compton to commemorate Yetunde Price, their sister who died of gang violence. The resource center has provided healing and resiliency to citizens of Compton ever since. 


Williams also sells her daughter’s baby clothes on Poshmark and donates the proceeds to the Williams Sisters Fund, which helps fight violence for inner-city youths by giving them access to sports and athletics.