On Thursday, Forbes hosted its fifth annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy under the theme “Moonshots—Big Bets for Social Change.” The exclusive event brought together 200 of the world’s leading philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and business leaders for a critical discussion on how to apply wealth and resources to solve today’s most intractable problems. Forbes turned the lens on the audacious thinkers, entrepreneurs, inventors and scholars who are proposing and initiating these radical ideas, creating philanthropic solutions to change our world. Royal Bank of Canada was a presenting sponsor, and McKinsey & Company was the Knowledge Partner.
Attendees and speakers included Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway; Bill Gates, Co-Chair & Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Sean Parker, Co-Founder, Napster, Founding President, Facebook, and Founder, Parker Foundation; Martine A. Rothblatt, Founder & CEO, United Therapeutics Corporation; Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Chobani, and Founder, Tent Foundation; Alicia Keys, Grammy award-winning artist and activist; Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut, Gemini 12 & Apollo 11; Laura E. Arnold, Co-Chair, Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Danny Meyer, CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Founder, Shake Shack; plus many others.
“The theme this year is moonshots—big, bold ideas to create dramatic and positive social change,” said Randall Lane, the editor of Forbes magazine, who oversees the Summit. “By bringing this unprecedented group together, and pushing them toward grand visions that can solve problems, we’re making a difference in the world that hopefully will echo for decades.”
Participants gathered to discuss breakthrough ideas to solve social problems around clean energy, cancer, criminal justice, the global refugee crisis, and business’ efforts to promote social good. Panel discussions were focused on such topics as Breakthrough Philanthropy, Ending the Refugee Crisis, and Clean Energy Investment—a conversation with Bill Gates and Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy. The End of Cancer, Part I and II panels were followed by interactive brainstorming sessions led by top cancer experts, where summit participants used their problem-solving skills in the fight against cancer.
For this year’s summit, Bill Gates shared an exhibit on-site called Coop Dreams: A Journey Out of Poverty. The exhibit and the complementary online experience (which can be found at www.gatesnotes.com) highlights the importance of chickens in the fight to end global poverty. The exhibit includes education on core topics (e.g. food, shelter and medicine), a chicken gallery featuring different breeds, and a chicken coop with live chickens. This is the first time that this exhibit has been presented to the public.
The day closed with a conversation and special performance by Alicia Keys, followed by an evening reception. During the summit’s evening program:
- Moira Forbes, Executive Vice President, Forbes Media, and Publisher, ForbesWoman, presented Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder & CEO, Acumen, with the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship.
“The efforts any of one us makes to renew the world may not be accomplished in our lifetimes,” said Jacqueline Novogratz. “Especially if we are focused not only on solving material poverty, but spiritual impoverishment as well, and confronting the tensions and realities of race and ethnicity and religion and class that too often divide us. We do this work to carry that of others forward and to inspire a new generation as we persevere.”
- Ted Turner, Founder CNN and Founder & Chairman, United Nations Foundation, received the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.
“This award is a real honor, as philanthropy continues to be one of the great passions of my life. Over the years, witnessing what giving can do through my foundations—the UN Foundation, Nuclear Threat Initiative and Turner Foundation, has provided me with more satisfaction than I can put into words,” said Ted Turner. “I look forward to continuing my philanthropic efforts, and urge my peers to do the same.”
Forbes magazine will have full coverage of the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy this November as part of its special Philanthropy issue.