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The non-profit motive: Big donors on why they give Add to ...

This is part of The Globe and Mail's in-depth look at the evolution of philanthropy. Read more from the series here.

The Non-Profit Motive

Big donors on why they give

Bill Clinton
"I thought there ought to be some way of establishing a global network of local NGOs and governments"

Bill Clinton

K'naan
"You would be missing out so deeply if you never experienced what it is like to give"

K'naan

Belinda Stronach
"When you talk to people first hand that are experiencing poverty or pain, if you have any kind of a compassion, you want to help"

Belinda Stronach

Peter Buffett
"My father, Warren Buffett, famously gave all his money away and of course, myself and my siblings, we're playing a role in that"

Peter Buffett

Clara Hughes
"Seeing what sport has done for me has really inspired me to always give back to sporting programs"

Clara Hughes

Guy Laliberté
"For me, it's integrated in my entire life"

Guy Laliberté

Bill Clinton

Since leaving the White House, former U.S. president Bill Clinton has focused on philanthropic and humanitarian work through the William J. Clinton Foundation. The foundation focuses on several key areas: economic empowerment, education, environment, health and nutrition. One of the foundation's programs, the Clinton Global Initiative, launched in 2005, brings together business, government, NGO and philanthropic who have committed $63 billion over the last six years to take action on issues like climate change and poverty alleviation. The CGI has a long list of distinguished attendees including President Barack Obama and Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu.

K'naan

JUNO-winner K'naan is probably best-known for his song "Wavin' Flag," but the Somali-born Canadian artist leveraged his celebrity status to shine a spotlight on this summer's famine in the Horn of Africa. The rapper, who grew up in Toronto's rough Rexdale neighbourhood, returned to Africa and visited hospitals and refugee camps in Somalia and Kenya, teaming up with fellow pop star and anti-poverty advocate Bono to raise awareness of the crisis. K'naan has also championed Bill C-393 in Parliament, which is designed to assist the developing world in getting access to affordable medicine for treatable diseases.

Belinda Stronach

In another life, Belinda Stronach was a party-switching politician and CEO of her father's auto parts company, Magna. She has since left both roles behind and now focuses on philanthropic work through the Belinda Stronach Foundation, which provides educational opportunities for young Canadian women and aboriginal youth, and youth in developing nations. In 2005, she teamed up with comedian Rick Mercer to launch the Spread the Net campaign, which has raised $5-million to buy insecticide-treated bed nets for children and pregnant women in Liberia and Rwanda.

Peter Buffett

Warren Buffett is one of the world's wealthiest men, but his children have long understood most of his fortune wouldn't be coming their way. In 2006, the senior Buffett gave his second son, Peter, $1-billion earmarked for charity. Since then, Peter Buffett has focused his giving on women and girls in developing nations through the NoVo Foundation, providing approximately $55-million in grants annually. The younger Buffett is on Barron's list of top 25 most effective philanthropists.

Clara Hughes

After her gold medal win at the 2006 Turin Olympic Games, Clara Hughes donated her $10,000 prize to Right to Play, an organization that brings sports to children in developing countries. The act was a first for a Canadian Olympian and Ms. Hughes has encouraged others to follow suit. She also donated her $10,000 Vancouver 2010 Olympic bronze medal winnings to the city's Take a Hike program, an alternative school that organizes camping trips for students who have dropped out of regular schools. A speed skater and cyclist, Ms. Hughes has won six Olympic medals and is the co-chair of Right to Play's Canadian advisory board.

Guy Laliberté

Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté covers the operating costs of his foundation, One Drop, with a $100-million contribution over 25 years. The charity, which he founded in 2007 in Montreal, helps fight poverty by providing access to clean water worldwide. Mr. Laliberté, a well-known poker player, also created the "Big One for One Drop," a $1-million dollar buy-in tournament billed as the largest charity initiative in poker history. The tournament will be featured at the 2012 World Series of Poker and part of the prize pool will be donated to the One Drop Foundation.