With a net worth of $114 billion, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos retained the top spot on the 2019 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, while Bill and Melinda Gates ranked first among impact investors.
Among the nineteen billionaires appearing on the Forbes 400 list for the first time were Julia Koch, the widow of David H. Koch ($41 billion), who tied for thirteenth place with her brother-in-law Charles Koch; MacKenzie Bezos ($36.1 billion, #15), who signed the Giving Pledge this past May following her divorce from husband Jeff; and private equity mogul Orlando Bravo ($3 billion, #287), the first Puerto Rican-born billionaire, who pledged $10 million for relief efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 and has since committed $100 million in support of efforts to promote entrepreneurship and economic development on the island.
Based on an estimate of total lifetime giving, excluding pledges or announced gifts that have yet to be paid out, twenty-seven billionaires on the list received the highest "philanthropy" score of 5. They include Bill Gates ($106 billion, #2), Berkshire Hathaway chair and investor Warren Buffett ($80.8 billion, #3), Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg ($69.6 billion, #4), Bloomberg L.P. founder and former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg ($53.4 billion, #8), billionaire hedge fund manager Jim Simons ($21.6 billion, #21), and Laurene Powell Jobs ($21.3 billion, #22), the widow of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.
With support from Nuveen, Forbes also published a new list, Impact 50, of notable impact investors among the highest-paid athletes, highest-earning celebrities, and most successful self-made women — including many not on the Forbes 400 list — who have been making such investments for at least a year, either with deployed capital or personal investments. Among those with a net worth of at least $5 billion, the Gateses topped the list, followed by Walmart heirs Alice and Jim Walton, Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Dell Computer founder Michael Dell, and Powell Jobs. Among those with a net worth of between $500 million and $5 billion, Dagmar Dolby, the widow of surround sound pioneer Ray Dolby, ranked first, while in the under-$500 million category, tennis superstar Serena Williams topped the list, followed by Howard W. Buffett, the grandson of Warren, and Echoing Green president Cheryl L. Dorsey.
"My passion, which is the same as with companies, is to move beyond the strategic, long-term pontification and into the operational and tactical moves that make you move forward today," Bravo, who is not on the Impact 50 list, told Forbes. "Economies go down, companies miss their numbers, trade stops, product issues happen and people quit. [The question is] do you have a creative approach to problem solving?...I just feel like every operational problem can be solved. There's always a solution."
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