Walt Disney gave his housekeeper, Thelma Pearl Howard, shares of Disney stock every year for her birthday and Christmas. She died a multi-millionaire at the age of 79. And she gave a lot away to a charity for homeless kids in her will.
The “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” that swept the Internet in 2014 raised $115 million, of which 67% went to research, 20% to patient and community services, and 9% to public and professional education. In addition, the ALS Association has since tripled its annual budget for research. And the guy who started it is broke and has 80K in medical bills a month.
Ecosia search engine turns the revenue into lush greenery. The company uses its income from the ads to plant trees all over the world. On average, it takes around 45 searches to plant a tree.
Derreck Kayongo collected barely-used bars of soap from hotels, melted them together, and distributed them to poor countries. He’s the founder of the Global Soap Project, which improves access to basic sanitation and reduces disease and child mortality.
In 2010, 7-year-old Charlie Simpson made a cycle ride to raise funds for Haiti earthquake victims. He hoped to raise £500 for the Haiti earthquake relief by cycling 5 miles around a local park, but he eventually raised £145,000 after his efforts touched the hearts of people around the world.
In 2011 the Detroit Symphony Orchestra was in a deep financial crisis. Kid Rock, in what he called “the best drunk move I ever made,” decided to throw a benefit concert. He raised over one million dollars for the symphony and helped save classical music in Detroit.
The $100 million in famine relief raised by Live Aid in 1985, was used to buy weapons and crush the opposition in Ethiopia’s civil war.
When Cristiano Ronaldo was asked to donate his cleats for a charity auction benefiting 10-year old Erik Ortiz Cruz, who had a brain disorder that can cause 30 seizures a day, he instead paid the whole $83K for his surgery.
Socks are among the most needed items at homeless shelters, yet among the least-often donated.
In 1986, the United Way released 1.5 million balloons into the Cleveland sky to raise money for charity. The balloons were so thick that Coast Guard helicopters couldn’t reach an overturned boat, resulting in the death of two fishermen.