The word wealth will most likely prompt someone to think of having a substantial amount of money or possessions. Today, there are more billionaires and millionaires than ever. According to Forbes there are 793 US-dollar billionaires in the world. There are also 8.3 million household with a net worth of over one million dollars, excluding the value of the home, in the United States alone (Wikipedia). Based on today’s standards, possessing that amount of money would be seen as wealthy. But monetary wealth is only part of being truly wealthy. Can people wealthy with money also help humanity? Many celebrities and public figures are examples of possessing true wealth. They have demonstrated it is possible to earn money and also help the needs of others.
To earn money throughout a lifetime is a goal almost every American has. There are also casinos and the lottery to entice people to become rich. The United States is an economy based country. My goal is to also make a good amount of money throughout life to have a comfortable lifestyle. But I have also been raised to recognize those that are not as fortunate as I am. Tithing has been a large factor in how I spend the money I earn from work. Each generation of my family has been taught to give ten percent of earnings to church or charity. Even though I may not be a millionaire, I am still better off than a lot of people in America and the world. No matter how much money I make, I will always set aside ten percent for donations because that is how I was raised and as I have become older I realize it is a morally just act.
Wealthy public figures also set aside money specifically for donations. Many of these people are celebrities or large business owners with an abundance of money. Using their talents they have been able to provide for themselves financially and realize they have the ability to help humanity. One such person is the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates. He has used his ideas and skills to help himself advance financially while also helping society. The creation of Windows Operating System has helped advance the technology around the world. The operating system is used worldwide from classrooms to large corporations. With his success Bill Gates has been able to accumulate a large amount of money. He has successfully used his talents not only to progress himself financially, but also advance the world’s technology.
Using his public status and monetary wealth, Bill Gates has been able to form the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This foundation is set as a company to specifically raise money and distribute the money to different charities. The main goal of this foundation is to help education, the global health, and global libraries. The foundation employees 263 people, donate to 8 different global organizations, and have an endowment of 29.1 billion dollars (Gates). Recently, Gates has joined with Oprah to raise awareness of the alarming dropout rates of high school students. Education is important to Gates and a large amount of donations are given to improve schools. Change within the schools can occur thanks to support and influence from Bill Gates. He demonstrates that gaining financial wealth allows a person to also help humanity not only with money, but with personal ideas and influence.
A second public figure that has financial wealth and dedicates time to help humanity is Tiger Woods. The pro golfer has used his talent in golf to make a substantial amount of money for himself. At the age of just thirty, he has earned millions of dollars on the golf course along with much more from endorsements. It is estimated that woods has earned 66 million dollars from golf tournaments, but has also received 481 million dollars in endorsements. He is set to be the first golfer to earn one billion dollars and perhaps the first athlete to accumulate the billion dollars as an athlete (Golf Digest). Tiger Woods has earned enough money to retire now and spend his earnings on luxurious possessions. But Woods has said he will continue to play. Not necessarily to accumulate more money for himself, but to help finance the new learning center he has recently opened. His dream to open up a new learning center for kids was announced in 2000. After six years of planning and construction, the Tiger Woods Learning Center opened on February 10, 2006 in Anaheim, California. The center is 35,000 square feet, designed for grades 4th to 12th, contains over 100 computer stations, and is includes two solar electric systems to reduce energy costs (TWLC).
Tiger Woods was able to use the money he earned from his career to make a difference for children. Using his celebrity status he attracted various corporations to help donate money towards the construction of the center. Woods’ contribution to society attracted other public figures such as Maria Shriver and Bill Clinton to also help with contributions and to speak at the opening ceremony. Tiger Woods said, “This is by far the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. This is bigger than golf. This is bigger than anything I’ve ever done on the course. Because we will be able to shape lives (TWLC). He credits the desire to help kids less fortunate than he was to they treatment he received from his own parents. Woods was able to have a good education because his parents cared for him and wanted him to succeed. He wants to show the children that use his learning center that he cares for all of them and wants them to succeed and have the same opportunities he had. Bill Clinton made a good point when he said he was glad Tiger Woods decided to create the center when he was thirty instead of sixty. Woods proves that having money cannot satisfy someone completely. Using that money to give back to society will provide greater wealth for the future of America’s children than any amount of money.
One of the most successful and influential persons in America is Oprah Winfrey. She has proven herself to be financially successful by being the first African American woman on the Forbes list of billionaires (Achievement). Even though she has made this amount of money, she continues to work everyday. Oprah’s television show allows people to see that being wealthy and helping humanity can be accomplished. Oprah contributes to society every day on her show. She looks at the issues facing America and the world and addresses these issues to the world through her show. One issue she recently tackled was sexual predators escaping the law. Offering 100,000 dollars to any view that helped police track a predator on her list is a good incentive. But Oprah went a step farther and said she would pay the person with her own money as long as these sex predators were caught. This shows that she has a genuine desire to help society and is willing to use the money she has earned to ensure a difference is being made.
Oprah donates to numerous charities and organizations. She also uses her show to allow people from other charities to inform the viewers of new organizations or events they can participate in or contribute to. From helping in soup kitchens to researching cures for diseases, all organizations are welcome to use Oprah’s show to gain support for each particular charity. Oprah’s Angel Network is her personal charity where anyone can donate and the money will go directly to major charities such as helping with Katrina clean up or building new homes and schools in Africa (Oprah.com). In 2002 Oprah started donating to help children in Africa attend school. Another goal Oprah has is to help fight aids in Africa. Donating to her charity will help fight aids and allow children to attend schools in Africa. Oprah’s efforts to help humanity show that having both money and helping society is possible. To have monetary wealth is only one part of being truly wealthy. Oprah is using her talents to make money, and then using that money to help others which gives her satisfaction and brings true wealth to her life.
To be financially wealthy gives a person the opportunity to use that wealth to help others. Dedicating an entire lifetime to either becoming rich or helping others is not necessary. Being both wealthy and helping humanity can be achieved as demonstrated by numerous public figures. Having a recognizable name such as a celebrity can also help. A celebrity will have financial wealth and can use his or her status to gain support for a particular charity or organization. Starting a charity is also done by those that have already made enough money to support their self and family and can now help others. Other celebrities will take it upon themselves to make a difference in society. Tiger Woods is an excellent example of this. He has made more than enough money for himself and has used some of his own money to make a difference. Building a new learning center is tangible way to show that you care about humanity and the future of society.
It is not necessary to be a millionaire in order to be able to help humanity. If an individual feels as though they can support them self with a comfortable lifestyle, any extra money can be given to charities. To think of someone as rich usually takes at least a million dollars or more. But putting it into the perspective of everyone in the world, there are many more people who are in need with less money. Realizing this will make people realize that even though they are not as rich as a celebrity, they can still help humanity by donating extra wealth they have accumulated.
“America’s Beloved Best Friend.” Achievement.org. Academy of Achievement. April 6, 2006.
“Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” GatesFoundation.org. February 2006.
“Golf’s first Billion-Dollar Man.” GolfDigest.com. February 2006.
“Oprah’s Angel Network.” Oprah.com.
“Tiger Woods Learning Center.” TWLC.org. .
“Wikipedia.” Wikipedia.org. .