The Big 3 Charitable Foundations

The big 3“The Big 3”: The World’s 3 Largest Foundations

Starting a charitable foundation is not the hardest part of the process – maintaining and growing it is much harder. So many foundations have gone in the red, eventually shutting down due to negligence, lack of public support, wrong investments and many other reasons. However, this does not mean that the future of charitable foundations are bleak. So many foundations have grown and expanded to a point where it is not only self-sufficient, but has also helped so many people around the world.

Here we take a look at three of the largest charitable foundations in the world, what they do and how much they’re worth.

#1: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most successful private foundation across the globe. Launched in 2000 under the name  William H. Gates Foundation, this husband and wife foundation nets a total of $42.3 billion (as of 2014) in endowments. Its headquarters is located in Seattle, Washington, and it is under the control of three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and their largest contributor Warren Buffett. The foundation also has offices in the Middle East, Europe, China, India and Africa.

The foundation provides funding for grants for developing countries. Their acts of philanthropy are centered mainly on healthcare, the elimination of poverty and education. Aside from providing grants to organizations and other charities that reflect their mission and values, they also work alongside government offices to promote reforms that are beneficial to the public.

The foundation has four main divisions. Its Global Development Division focuses on solving problems related to hunger and poverty, especially in third world countries. The Global Health Division supports and funds scientific scientific advancement and medical discoveries in order to save lives. Their United States Division focus on improving the quality of education in the US and helping the less fortunate members of society. Their Global Policy & Advocacy Division builds relationships with government offices and other organizations to ensure the success of their projects.

The following is an excerpt from the foundation’s website:

“From poverty to health, to education, our areas of focus offer the opportunity to dramatically improve the quality of life for billions of people. So we build partnerships that bring together resources, expertise, and vision—working with the best organizations around the globe to identify issues, find answers, and drive change.”

#2: Stichting INGKA

The Stichting INGKA was launched in 1982 by Swedish billionaire Ingvar Kamprad, the same man behind furniture retail giant IKEA. The name INGKA is simply Ingvar Kamprad meshed together while Stichting is the Dutch word for foundation. The foundation, which is owned by the Kamprad family, is located in Leiden, Netherlands.

The foundation performs philanthropic acts through the IKEA foundation. Since IKEA’s niche is housing and furniture, their foundation’s charitable acts all focus on the home and community. The foundation support charities and organizations that advocate children’s’ rights and welfare. They focus on war-stricken and developing countries, offering communities with education and livelihood.

The foundation believes in the Circle of Prosperity, which includes four aspects: Home, Health, Education and Income. Currently, the foundation has the following projects underway:

Let’s Play for Change – the foundation funds children’s development programs spearheaded by charities like UNICEF and Save the Children, which promotes play time as an effective way to heal and recover from war and natural disasters.

Brighter Lives for Refugees – the foundation has raised over €30.8 million in partnership with the United Nations Refugee Agency, or UNHCR to bring renewable energy and power to refugee camps in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Soft Toys for Education – Since 2003, IKEA has sold soft toys as art of their campaign, donating €1 for each toy sold. Today, the campaign has raised a total of €88 million from sales and donations, which will go to education programs.

The following is an excerpt from the foundation’s website:

“Our mission is to create substantial and lasting change by funding holistic, long-term programmes in some of the world’s poorest communities that address children’s fundamental needs: home, health, education and a sustainable family income, while helping communities fight and cope with climate change.

Our vision is to work toward a world where children living in poverty have more opportunities to create a better future for themselves and their families.”

#3: Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation founded in 1936 by Sir Henry Wellcome, co-owner of the pharmaceutical giant Burroughs Wellcome & Company. Based in London, UK, the foundation focuses on biomedical research to improve the health and well-being of both humans and animals. The trust started out as the The Wellcome Foundation Ltd. while Henry Wellcome was still alive. Upon his death, the foundation obeyed the wishes of his will, and used the income generated by the Foundation to fund the Wellcome Trust.

Today, the Trust is still governed the same way that Wellcome wrote in his will. The Trust provides grants and support to pharmacology departments in providing education for future researchers and pharmacologists. The trust spends around $600 million every year funding research that gives way to usable health products, cure and better medical ethics.

Their funding has paved the way for several medical innovations, including:

The discovery and development of a new vaccine for the Ebola virus.

The reforming of medical ethics in conducting medical trials, especially with regards to pregnant women.

Training and sending medical experts in regions affected by infectious diseases and outbreaks like Africa.

Building relationships with large corporations and government offices in an effort to spread awareness about the importance of global health.

The following is an excerpt from the foundation’s website:

“Good health makes life better. We want to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. That’s why we support thousands of curious, passionate people all over the world to explore great ideas, at every step of the way from discovery to impact.

We also identify strategic priorities where we can give focused, intensive support when there are real opportunities to transform lives, or we can drive reform to ensure that ideas reach their full potential.”