In the middle of the Great Depression, a man placed an offer in an Ohio newspaper, saying: If you’re in trouble, write me. Many people sent him desperate letters, needing things like shoes, a coat, mercy, food, and to save their family from despair. And back came checks, under a pseudonym.
Kirk Kerkorian, the richest person in Los Angeles, has dispensed more than $200 million and a school, and he has never allowed anything to be named in his honor.
A 10 year old boy in China spent 2 years collecting 160,000 plastic bottles, raising $2,700. He donated all this money, and his own savings of $30, to orphans of AIDS victims.
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.