12 Famous Humanitarians That Made a Difference


It is said that all human beings have a humanitarian side in them, whether it is volunteering for worthwhile causes or giving financial support to a charity. But then, there is a few individuals who take humanitarianism to a whole new level to change the course of entire nations or even the world. Here is a list of people who took it upon themselves to do some deeds that made a difference:

1. Mother Teresa

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, Mother Teresa has proven that one does not need to be a billionaire to become a great humanitarian. As a nun, she was granted permission to provide food to those who need it. She established the Missionaries of Charity, which started in India and later grew to have 50 branches in the country and 30 more overseas. Her greatest humanitarian contribution was her philosophy of actively helping the poor in every way, which earned her a Nobel Peace Prize.

2. Bill Gates

Only a few other humanitarians can match how much this Microsoft founder has put up for good deeds. While the exact total of donations or pledges made by Gates is difficult to gauge, according to I4U News, it is at least $29 billion for a variety of causes, with fight against malaria being one of his most devoted causes. His Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation earned him various awards for humanitarian efforts.

3. Mahatma Gandhi

Like Mother Teresa, Gandhi also proved that you do not need a lot of money to make a difference for your fellow humans. He was best known for using peaceful practices to end the British occupation in India. Originally having to stay in South Africa with the purpose of earning his rights as a British citizen, he ended finding himself in a humanitarian campaign that would capture the attention of the world. He also received a Nobel Peace Prize.

4. Warren Buffett

For Buffet, having to inherit billions of fortune would be proving to him that your humanitarian cause would be worth it. A well-known billionaire who earned his wealth through practical advice and sound investing, he might be better known for his humanitarian circles, where he pledged most of his earnings to charity. He also planned to donate the bulk of his fortune to the Gates Foundation and other organizations focusing on world health. Other charities on his giving list include those headed by his children.

5. Martin Luther King, Jr.

King was best known for non-violent practices in protesting against injustice. He was one of the first to defend Rosa Parks as a pastor for an Alabama church, and then grew to play a primary role in the Civil Rights Movement in America, earning himself a Nobel Peace prize. His speech, “I Have a Dream”, inspired a lot of other humanitarians.

6. Chuck Feeney

Unlike some humanitarians, Feeney is reluctant to name his foundation after himself or a family member, and the same goes with having buildings, wings or plaques in his honor, which were made by universities and hospitals that he donated to. He founded Duty Free Shoppers, which is worth at least $8 billion, and the board has instructed to give away all of it by 2016.

7. Oprah Winfrey

In 2003, Oprah became the first African American woman to reach the status of a billionaire. Aside from this breakthrough, she also became well-known for her efforts to help other people who are in need. Among her best known humanitarian achievements include the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa and her own foundation that has donated millions to fight poverty, build dreams and support movements with great causes.

8. Andrew Carnegie

During the 19th century, Carnegie was the richest man in the world who made his fortune at the last stages of the industrial age. Apart from giving away millions of dollars through his own foundation, which was unheard of during that time, he was one of the first wealthy individuals who believe that it would be a disgrace to die rich.

9. George Soros

Although Soros’ critics have a lot to say about what he is actually funding, this billionaire and chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC was said to have donated more than six billion dollars to humanitarian efforts. As one of the most successful financiers in the world, he established the Open Society Foundation, which aims to support human rights advocacy and democracy in over 70 countries around the world.

10. Bono

The humanitarian efforts of the front man of U2 are no secret to everyone around the world. Using both his fortune and fame, Bono has fought everything from diseases to wars, and at his age of 56, he holds the long-running record of worthy humanitarian efforts sans the billions of dollars in wealth. His achievements in this aspect include efforts to address AIDS in Africa, quell famine in Ethiopia and help conserve the environment in many regions.

11. Jon Huntsman, Sr.

The founder of a global chemical manufacturer began his serious donating days in 1992 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which means that his humanitarian efforts have also been running long now, totaling well into the billion-dollar range. It is said that on his way to the hospital, he wrote a million dollar check to a soup kitchen, another million to a homeless shelter and half a million to the clinic that first found his malignancy. He would then go on to establish his own cancer foundation, which alone cost him more than a billion dollars. His charitable efforts even went so far that it excluded him of the list of wealthiest individuals by Forbes.

12. Al Gore

The humanitarian efforts of this former Vice President of the United States to help preserve the environment have won him many awards. In fact, a speech given by Gore was made the basis for the award-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth”. He is known to often travel to discuss how poverty and climate change can be fought at the same time.

The deeds of these famous humanitarians, whether dead or still existing, still live on today and continue to make headlines. They are known around the world by having their own specific cause that helped the many.