Philanthropy is a necessity in our society. Whether it is proposed by the wealthy or the poor, philanthropy allows us to better ourselves and our fellow man. It also allows us to learn a great deal about life and what it means to be a better person. Philanthropists are some of the most insightful people on the planet. They’ve traveled the world and seen the good and the bad. They’ve taken what they know about the world and can offer some of the greatest advice.


Here are some of the best life lessons learned by two of the world’s leaders in philanthropy.


Bill Gates

Bill Gates learned about philanthropy and its importance the hard way. When he was still very young and the head of Microsoft, Gates had become a billionaire. He was very focused on running his company, while his mother, Mary Gates, wanted her son to focus on philanthropy. While he was interested in philanthropy, he did not get serious about it until his mother sent his wife a letter stating, “From those to whom much is given, mucha is expected.” Unfortunately, Gates’ mother passed away shortly after, and her words never left his mind. Gates then became focused on philanthropy and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was started a few years later.


Mark Zuckerberg

Known as the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is also one of the world’s most dedicated philanthropists. However, he has made some hiccups along the way. One of his biggest mistakes was at the very beginning of his philanthropic career. He had decided to donate $100 million to Newark, New Jersey in the hopes of improving the city’s public school system. Zuckerberg then made the announcement on Oprah, and the then-mayor of Newark doubled down on Zuckerberg’s enthusiasm and promised several changes within five years. The changes made were done without the approval or opinion of the teachers or parents, and the city’s residents were outraged. Rallies were held and several members of the Newark community called Zuckerberg out for being an “uncaring billionaire.” Zuckerberg learned a valuable lesson that day, and he has since moved on to become a major player in the philanthropic community.


Let these life lessons be examples to learn from. Do not repeat similar mistakes in your philanthropic attempts. And even if you make mistakes along the way, make sure to remember them in the hopes that you will avoid them in the future.