Elon Musk, Mackenzie Scott, And 2020’s Top Stories In Wealth And Philanthropy

Good morning.

In today's special edition of the Daily Dozen, let's look at the biggest stories that shaped
wealth and philanthropy in 2020: the biggest players, the rankings, and the priceless advice.

Tomorrow, I'll focus on the year's top trends in careers and leadership.

Sofia Lotto Persio

Sofia Lotto Persio

Daily Dozen Curator-In-Chief | Twitter

The Biggest Billionaire Winners And Losers Of 2020
The Biggest Billionaire Winners And Losers Of 2020

While 2020 has been a difficult year for many, the world's billionaires, have fared far better than most. The top five biggest gainers alone are a combined $310.5 billion wealthier.

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Even before the pandemic turned 2020 into an annus horribilis across the world, Africa's richest woman Isabel dos Santos had a bad start of the year. In January, she was charged with embezzlement and money laundering in her native country of Angola—where her trial is yet to start—and various financial institutions then severed their ties with her. Tragedy then struck her family later in the year, when her husband Sindika Dokolo died in Dubai in October at age 48.

2020 has been a
wild ride for Elon Musk. At the time of writing, it remains unclear if the serial entrepreneur will retain its current spot as the world's second-richest person, but that is just one of the many staggering numbers that sum up Musk's most mesmerizing year yet.

For a short period in 2019, LVMH chairman and CEO
Bernard Arnault was head to head with Jeff Bezos for the title of world's richest person. The Amazon founder now enjoys a large advantage in that particular race, but Arnault nonetheless captured headlines this year  with the gripping "will they/won't they" saga of the Tiffany takeover deal.

Having joined the Giving Pledge philanthropic initiative in 2019 following her divorce from Jeff Bezos,
Mackenzie Scott got to work on fulfilling the commitment of donating at least half of her fortune either during her lifetime or after she dies. This year alone, she announced gifts to charitable and nonprofit groups totaling $5.8 billion.

"giving while living" philosophy was pioneered by Chuck Feeney. The former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers achieved this year his lifetime goal of donating virtually all of his fortune to causes such as health, science, education and social action.

When it comes to inspiring leadership, one would be remiss not to mention
one of the year's biggest success story: that of BioNTech—whose technology underpins the collaboration with Pfizer on delivering the world's first clinically-approved Covid-19 vaccine—and his founder Ugur Sahin, a Turkish-born, German-based, bicycle-riding scientist who became a billionaire in June.

Darker clouds surrounded the success story of mobile trading app Robinhood. The app, whose popularity surged along with the distribution of the $1,200 stimulus check, sold the world a story of helping the little guy that is the opposite of its actual business model: selling the little guy to rich market operators with very sharp elbows. In December, the SEC charged Robinhood for misleading customers.

You don't need to be a billionaire to donate to worthy causes. Across the world,
Irish-based individuals were the most generous, according to data by crowdfunding platform GoFundMe measured by donations per capita—in fact, one of their top five fundraisers of 2020 saw Irish donors giving to U.S. citizens in need.

Bill Gates has long championed the benefits of reading. His list of top reads of the year is by now an annual tradition. His 2020 selection aimed to compensate for "a lousy year," and help readers end it on a "good note."

One minor silver lining of the pandemic was the release of the smash-hit musical Hamilton on Disney's streaming service, several months ahead of the original plan. The Disney+ deal landed Hamilton's creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to the 62th spot in Forbes' ranking of the world's highest-paid celebrities this year—his first appearance on the list.

For even more stories about billionaires, check out wealth editor Kerry Dolan's selection. 

The World's Billionaires Have Gotten $1.9 Trillion Richer In 2020
The World's Billionaires Have Gotten $1.9 Trillion Richer In 2020

With major stock markets soaring high, Forbes estimates that the 2,200-plus billionaires in the world have collectively gotten $1.9 trillion richer in 2020.

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