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Movies and television programs often stereotype CEOs and other elite businessman as greedy and self interested, but nothing could be further from the truth. Each year some of the most prominent men and women in the world of business and entrepreneurship donate billions of dollars and material resources to a wide range of charities. These philanthropists not only help directly, but their actions also serve as powerful inspiration for those looking to make a difference.

Michael Dell

Through his Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the CEO and chairman of Dell computers has supported a range of philanthropic efforts, with many of them dedicated to improving his home state of Texas. Dell’s commitment to his community led him to make considerable donations to Texas’ healthcare and education system with a goal to improve the lives of economically disadvantaged children throughout the state. Both Dell and his wife champion programs that encourage youth to embrace health and fitness, raise education standards in urban communities, and offer scholarships to the underprivileged who might otherwise never have a chance at college. Some of the programs they’ve funded include the Ed-Fi Alliance, the Center for Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, and the Rebuild Texas Fund, a project dedicated to reviving communities damaged by the recent Hurricane Harvey.

Ted Turner

Since his retirement from his position as CEO of Turner Broadcasting, this media mogul has dedicated a series of philanthropic projects to protect and preserve wildlife around the globe. Both independently and by working with the United Nations, he’s created many charities including the Turner Endangered Species Fund, an organization committed to supporting groups that promote conservation and the protection of endangered species. His Captain Planet Foundation has inspired generations of kids to start their own environmental projects and improved school programs that teach children the importance of environmentalism. Turner has also contributed significantly towards various humanitarian causes, pledging an astounding $1 billion to the United Nations in order to support its mission of international cooperation and peace.

Mark Zuckerberg

Though only 33 years old, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is a model of success and has dedicated the rewards of his efforts into improving healthcare and education around the world. With a net worth of roughly $41 billion, by signing a Giving Pledge, Zuckerberg has generously promised to donate at least half of his lifetime earnings to charities. Along with his wife Priscilla, the social media innovator has contributed significantly in the fight against Ebola, helping to stem the spread of the virus in Uganda and other countries.

Zuckerberg’s philanthropy isn’t limited to tackling problems abroad, either. He and his wife pledged $75 million to support San Francisco General Hospital, $120 million to improve and support schools in the Bay Area, and a further $100 million to financially troubled schools in New Jersey. Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to offering better educational opportunities to the next generation is truly inspiring.

Making a Difference

While most people lack the same resources as these celebrated philanthropists, their actions serve as both inspiration and a guide to making a difference. By focusing on both immediate local concerns and more systemic global issues, even an average person can support improved healthcare, accessible educational programs, and other projects to improve both their communities and the world as a whole.