The story of Ted Turner’s business accomplishments – from creating the “superstation” concept to launching CNN to owning the Atlanta Braves – would have made a great biopic on his Turner Classic Movies channel. But all of that might be viewed as simply a prelude. For, as he explains: “As soon as I got rich, I started philanthropy.”
“If I had to live my life over,” he adds in his Giving Pledge letter, “there are things I would do differently, but the one thing I would not change is my charitable giving.” That’s why he tells fellow billionaires to start giving early.
His large philanthropic efforts include the Turner Foundation, dedicated to protecting the climate, curbing population growth, and maintaining wildlife habitat – particularly for bison and great apes. Beyond that, he made a historic pledge of $1 billion to assist the United Nations’ mission through his UN Foundation, and he also launched the Nuclear Threat Initiative – neither of which bears his name, by design.
Two of Turner’s particular concerns are the linked issues of overpopulation and women’s rights. He is working through his UN Foundation to ensure that more than 250 million poor women worldwide gain access to contraceptives. But even the smallest acts of philanthropy are important, he says. Case in point: he nursed a magpie fledgling back to life with dog food.More Remarkable Givers
- Do philanthropy now: Ted Turner urges getting started as soon as you have the money
- Equal rights for women: Ted Turner believes such an accomplishment will help solve most of the world's problems
- Evaluating the United Nations: Ted Turner praises its unsung effectiveness
- For the love of humanity: Why Ted Turner works to protect gorillas
- For the sake of sustainability: Ted Turner makes an urgent appeal to reverse population growth
- Funding the United Nations: Ted Turner gets creative to support the UN
- How to make a difference: Ted Turner’s search for where he and the UN Foundation could be successful led him to work on polio and malaria
- Learning philanthropy: How Ted Turner became a philanthropist
- Preserving Earth: Ted Turner champions the environment for future generations
- Right-sizing your philanthropy: Ted Turner tackles big challenges because he can
- Spend down vs. perpetuity: Ted Turner works to ensure the United Nations Foundation’s future
- What’s in a name? Ted Turner on where to use his name, and where it may not help in philanthropy