Some of the world's wealthiest people are becoming its most generous, too. And recent headlines should clue you into a growing trend.
This week, news broke in Australia of a Newcastle woman named Lily Fardell who had her home auctioned off posthumously for more than $3 million. She made sure that all of that money was given to St. Vincent de Paul Society "to help the charity better serve the Hunter's homeless children and their families," according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Her generosity got us thinking: it seems a lot of people have been donating their wealth in wills recently, and perhaps the generosity to the future is contagious. So we decided to compile a list of some of the richest people who are going to give their money away when they die.
1. Bill Gates
Gates is famous for many things, but one that will last a long while is launching The Giving Pledge together with his wife Melinda. The pledge is bringing together millionaires and billionaires from all over the world to pledge their money to future generations. In fact, he's responsible for several of the people on this list.
Gates has a net worth of $79.9 billion and has already given $28 billion away to fight deadly diseases around the world. He says he plans to double that investment when he gives money to help fund renewable energy.
"It's also neat in terms of giving all this money back, to take my position where I've been, maybe, the luckiest person and help the people who have been unlucky to have better lives," Gates once told ABC. "I feel very fortunate to have found that and [to] be able to get engaged and hopefully energize that field as well."
2. Sam Simon
"The Simpsons" creator gave away his $100 million fortune when he died at the age of 59.
His money found its way to organizations that provide service dogs for vets with PTSD, PETA, Save the Children, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Simon made the pledge after being given three months to live during a battle with colon cancer.
"The truth is, I have more money than I'm interested in spending," Simon said. "Everyone in my family is taken care of. And I enjoy this."
3. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
In July of this year, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabi promised his $32 billion fortune would be donated to charity, citing Bill Gates as a model for his donation.
Alwaleed promised that his charity "will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world."
4. Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently pledged almost all of his $800 million fortune to charity when he dies. But Cook's generosity is already in motion: in 2012, he donated $50 million to Stanford hospitals.
Cook's philanthropy also includes a $50 million donation to Project Red, an organization combating HIV and AIDS. Cook came out as gay back 2014, and has since championed the community.
"To be honest, if I would not have come to the conclusion that it would likely help other people, I would have never done it," he said about coming out to Fortune Magazine. "There's no joy in me putting my life in view."
5. Chuck Feeney
Unlike some of the other people on this list, Chuck Feeney has been giving away money for longer than 30 years — and will continue to until he dies.
The 84-year-old entrepreneur turned philanthropist was once described by Forbes as "the man who arguably has done more for Ireland than anyone since Saint Patrick."
Feeney, who set up his foundation in 1982, has given away grants in the range of $6.5 million, supporting projects in "Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, United States, Australia, Bermuda, South Africa and Vietnam," according to the BBC.
"I concluded that if you hung on to a piece of the action for yourself you'd always be worrying about that piece," Feeney told Forbes. "People used to ask me how I got my jollies, and I guess I'm happy when what I'm doing is helping people and unhappy when what I'm doing isn't helping people."
In a world where it is easy to feel that everyone is being pitted against each other, we should rejoice that some of our wealthiest citizens are still showing care for their fellow humans. Share this article to spread the generosity.