Billionaires aim to make their quick mark via philanthropy

It’s not often – well ever, really – that 150 of the world’s 400 wealthiest billionaires gather in one place at one time, particularly to talk about how they plan to give all those billions away. But that’s just what philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, Jacqueline Novogratz, Leon Black and Steve Case – and their peers – gathered together to do this past June.

Forbes Insights, together with Credit Suisse, used this unprecedented gathering to better understand how the world’s wealthiest approach giving back. What we found surprised us: yes, legacy is important, but not as important as making an impact as quickly as possible. And billions of dollars can make a tremendous impact — it can truly change the world.

More than half of Summit attendees who participated in the poll said that they expected to see a meaningful return on their philanthropic investment within 10 years, while four in 10 were prepared for an impact that stretched beyond their lifetime.

And they were risk takers, applying the same aggressive approaches in their charitable endeavors that they used in their business activities. Two-thirds invested in either early- or growth-stage philanthropic endeavors, rather than the old tried-and-true established charities with long track records.

In short: they were looking to make their mark, take risks, and solve the world’s most intractable problems – the huge knots that no one had yet been able to untangle.

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