Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg consistently make headlines with their charitable donations. However, they’re far from the only ones using their wealth to give back to their communities. A June 2015 Forbes Online article revealed that 89 percent of entrepreneurs donate to charity while 70 percent also invest their time into their chosen causes. While not every business owner gets substantial media recognition, it’s important to highlight charitable entrepreneurs doing good on a local and global scale.
Nana Boateng Osei: Assisting Vision-Impaired People
Nana Boateng Osei might not be a familiar name to many, but this Ghanaian entrepreneur is scoring points for both his company’s socially responsible manufacturing processes and his charitable work aiding vision-impaired people. Osei, the founder of luxury eyewear line Bôhten, was profiled in a February 2016 Mashable piece. The eyewear maker sources reclaimed wood from West Africa for its products and produces them inside a zero-waste facility in Canada.
Osei is also a longtime supporter of Sightsavers, a charity in the United Kingdom devoted to preventing vision loss, restoring sight and promoting social inclusion for people with disabilities. Bôhten’s “The Impact of One” campaign donates to Sightsavers with every pair of eyewear it sells. As the firm’s website explains, this charitable giving benefits recipients in developing nations like Ghana, Osei’s home country.
Kyra Nicole Young: Giving Back to Underprivileged Communities
Necessity became the mother of invention for Kyra Nicole Young when she discovered a lack of beauty products available for her naturally curly hair and dark skin. During her studies at UCLA, she stumbled on the benefits of shea butter, a plant-based fat used in African beauty products since the first century B.C. By experimenting in her own home, Young developed her own line of butter creams, which are organic moisturizers for hair and skin, along with essential oil medleys and exfoliating scrubs.
Today, her company Kyra’s Shea Medleys engages in charitable giving through its “KSM Gives Back” initiative. Inspired by the needs of her home community in South Central Los Angeles, Young’s business donates jars of its butter cream to nonprofits, homeless shelters, charities, and clinics across the United States. To date, the KSM Gives Back program has given over 2,900 butter creams to organizations such as Los Angeles’ Downtown Women’s Center, the Watts Labor Community Action Committee’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development and the Sisters Network, an association for African-American breast cancer survivors.
Eugene Chrinian: Charitable Giving and Faith-Based Philanthropy
New Jersey business owner Eugene Chrinian and his wife Donna assist multiple charities through their Chrinian Foundation. With its stated mission to “help organizations that support family values,” the foundation has lent aid to groups such as the Wounded Warriors Project, a charity assisting military veterans injured during their service. Other beneficiaries have included Family Life, a faith-based organization committed to providing “biblical help for marriage and family relationships” and Christian humanitarian groups such as Jericho Road Men’s Home and World Vision.
The foundation’s work also includes supporting the American Red Cross, an organization best known for its disaster relief efforts, CPR training and blood donation drives. Even so, the Red Cross also supplied services and aid for military personnel and their families. For Armed Forces members on active duty, veterans and their loved ones, the organization runs a wide range of initiatives such as the Coping with Deployment Course, which helps these individuals face the emotional challenges that come with being deployed.
Entrepreneurs Focus on the Greater Good
Since nearly every entrepreneur giving of their time and money, it’s easy for lesser-known names to get lost in the shuffle. From business owners with a local focus to entrepreneurs whose charitable work has global impacts, people like Osei, Young and Chrinian join the Zuckerbergs and Gates of the world committed to philanthropy and the greater good.