This will make a difference.
MacKenzie Bezos, author and now-ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, became one of the richest women in the world thanks to a divorce settlement that left her with over $35 billion. Now, she has vowed to give at least half of it away.
Bezos has signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Bill and Melinda Gates that encourages extremely wealthy individuals from around the world to donate more than half of their fortunes to charities and philanthropic causes.
“I have no doubt that tremendous value comes when people act quickly on the impulse to give,” Bezos wrote in a letter about her decision to sign on. “No drive has more positive ripple effects than the desire to be of service.”
There are many women like Bezos — and indeed, many women entrepreneurs like Blakely — who find fulfillment, purpose and success in doing good for others. And we aren’t surprised — from our 1,000+ Stories research project, we know that purpose is often more important than profit for women starting and running their own businesses. They will find ways to help the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the elderly in innovative and inspiring ways, while still thriving themselves.
We’ve explored this kind of generosity of spirit through our Good on the Ground series. For instance, we profiled Norine Hill, who uses cultural traditions to help Native American women recover from abuse and homelessness. Her nonprofit organization, Mother Nation, aims to lift these women out of domestic violence, homelessness and addiction in part by connecting them to the culture. So far, she says she has helped hundreds of women.
Kate Curran, meanwhile, founded School the World with that same drive and energy. Its a nonprofit social enterprise that has built 75 schoolhouses for children living in extreme poverty in Guatemala and Honduras. She left behind a lucrative and high-power career in law to make the move — and regrets nothing.
“The decision to leave that [corporate] life behind was one of best decisions I have ever made,” she says. “Making a contribution to the greater good is so much more valuable, especially when you are talking about kids.”
So even if you don’t have billions of dollars for the Giving Pledge, you can still make a true, lasting difference in the lives of others.