- Rather than give their money to friends or family after their deaths, some celebrities have chosen to give their earnings to charity.
- Kirk Douglas, who died in February, reportedly donated the bulk of his $US61 million fortune to charities through the Douglas Foundation.
- Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have said they plan to leave their money to charity after their deaths.
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With fortunes in the tens of millions and even billions of dollars, many celebrities have decided that their money can best be spent through charitable donations after they die.
Some have said they don’t want to ruin their children’s lives by giving them too much money, and that their money is better left to charity.
Bill and Melinda Gates,Michael Bloomberg,George Lucas, Ted Turner, and Warren Buffett have all signed the the Giving Pledge, which means they have promised to donate a majority of their wealth throughout their lifetime, or after their death.
Take a look at the charitable celebrities who have chosen to share their wealth with those who need it.
Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas left most of his $US61 million fortune to charity.
Douglas chose to give his money to the Douglas Foundation, which he established with his wife in 1964. The money was allocated to a host of charitable organisations, including Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre, the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and St. Lawrence University.
None of his children, including Michael Douglas, received a penny. Not that Michael needs it – he’s reportedly worth about $US300 million.
Joan Crawford left a small sum of money to various family members and friends, but most of her wealth went to different charities.
When Crawford died in 1977, she left nothing to two of her four children, saying in her will, “It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them.” Crawford’s fraught relationship with Christina was written about in her daughter’s famous memoir, “Mommie Dearest.”
Instead, the famous actress left most of her money to charitable organisations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America, the American Cancer Society, the USO of New York City, and many more.
James Brown’s family was shocked when his will decreed most of his fortune be donated to underprivileged children in Georgia and South Carolina.
After a series of family-related disputes and legal issues, James Brown’s will was contested for years. The Godfather of Soul wanted some of his fortune to go to charity to fund scholarships for needy children.
According to the New York Times, “The bulk of the estate was to be given over to the I Feel Good Trust, which he set up to distribute scholarships for children from South Carolina, where he was born, and Georgia, where he lived for much of his life.”
Daniel Craig doesn’t plan to leave any of his $US125 million fortune to his children, and he said he finds the idea of inheritance “distasteful.”
The “James Bond” actor has two daughters: one with his wife, actress Rachel Weisz, and another with his ex-wife, Fiona Loudon.
Billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates have promised to leave much of their fortune to charity.
Bill Gates, who is worth $US112 billion according to Forbes, has promised the majority of his fortune to charity. Along with Warren Buffett, he created and signed the Giving Pledge, which encourages celebrities and the super-rich to donate the majority of their money to charity.
The Gateses are famous for not spoiling their kids. Bill told This Morning, “It’s not a favour to kids to have them have huge sums of wealth. It distorts anything they might do, creating their own path.”
Michael Bloomberg says he believes his money is better given to charity than his children.
In his pledge letter, he explained why he’s leaving his money to charity rather than his children. “If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing – by far – is to support organisations that will create a better world for them and their children,” the former mayor wrote.
Warren Buffett is only giving his family 1% of his $US80 billion fortune.
Instead, he created the Giving Pledge with Bill and Melinda Gates and is giving the other 99% of his fortune to charity.
Simon Cowell’s son better get working, as he’s not leaving him a penny. He plans to give it all to charities supporting “kids and dogs.”
The former “American Idol” judge, famous for his tough love, will be just as tough on his child.
In an interview with Esquire UK, Cowell said, “I’m going to leave my money to somebody. A charity, probably – kids and dogs. I don’t believe in passing on from one generation to another.”
Bernard Marcus, founder of Home Depot, is leaving his money to charities through his foundation.
With a fortune of $US7.4 billion according to Forbes, the Home Depot magnate plans to leave his money to the Marcus Foundation. In fact, up to 90% “of “whatever is left of his wealth will go to his foundation, which in turn will give to philanthropic causes,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).
Marcus also told the AJC, “I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world.”
He recently donated a $US250 million aquarium to the state of Georgia and has donated millions to the Marcus Autism Centre.
George Lucas has pledged to give at least half of his billions to charity.
He recently made a cool $US4 billion from his sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, and pledged the whole sum to an education charity.
Jackie Chan also plans to give at least half of his estimated $US370 million fortune to charity.
Chan explained why he wouldn’t leave his money to his son: “If he is capable, he can make his own money. If he is not, then he will just be wasting my money.”
Sir Elton John says he doesn’t want to “ruin” his children’s lives by giving them fortunes, and he cited Warren Buffett’s will as inspiration.
He has two sons with his husband David Furnish, Zachary and Elijah. However, they won’t be getting his fortune.
John told the Mirror in 2016 that he and Furnish looked to Buffett’s model of giving his kids just enough money to be secure, but they are donating the rest. “We’re still working out the details and it’s about finding the balance,” the “Rocket Man” singer said.
“Phantom of the Opera” composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber plans to leave all his money to the theatre community.
The famous British composer has amassed a $US1.07 billion fortune, which he plans to give to the theatre industry, which he believes he owes for his success. He told the Mirror that he and his wife “would like to see it spread around. We could use the royalties to encourage everything from bursaries to young artists and composers.”
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis plan to give much of their fortune away when they die.
With a combined fortune of about $US265 million, Kutcher and Kunis plan to give it all away rather than to their children after their deaths.
On an episode of Dax Shephard’s podcast, “Armchair Expert,” Kutcher said he’s “not setting up a trust for [my kids]. We’ll end up giving our money away to charity and to various things.”
Marie Osmond thinks leaving her fortune to her children would be a “great disservice” to them, and instead will leave it to charity.
“You see it a lot in rich families where the kids don’t know what to do so they get in trouble, so I just let them be proud of what they make and I’m going to give mine to my charity,” she said.
Mark Zuckerberg is giving his fortune to charity. He said he has a “moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
In a 2015 Facebook post, the Facebook founder and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced that they will not be leaving their $US84 billion fortune to their daughters, Max and August, and instead will be donating 99% of it to charity.
The 2015 post, addressed to their daughter Max, said, “We want you to grow up in a world better than ours today.” They added, “We will do our part to make this happen, not only because we love you, but also because we have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation.”
Ted Turner plans to leave all his earnings to an environmental charity and the United Nations Foundation.
Turner has also signed the Giving Pledge, and in his pledge letter he wrote, “Looking back, if I had to live my life over, there are things I would do differently, but the one thing I would not change is my charitable giving.”
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