5. Warren Buffett
In a 2006 news conference, billionaire investor Warren Buffett announced his plans to donate $31 billion of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight disease, improve education, and reduce inequality.
In December 2016, 10 years later after the donation (or “The Big Bang” as his kids call it), Warren wrote a letter to Bill and Melinda asking them to reflect on what has come of his gift.
In their 2017 Annual letter to Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda shared their progress of how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped improve the world.
So far, they have saved an astonishing 122 million children and the number of childhood deaths has nearly been cut in half since 1990.
Through investing in UNICEF, the foundation has helped provide vaccines to children worldwide. Currently, 86% of children worldwide receive at least the basic package of vaccines, which is the highest percentage in history!
To combat male dominance, they have created community groups in India with the number of women in self-help groups now at 75 million and growing.
This trio has also been working on reducing newborn mortality, ending malnutrition, educating folks about the power of family planning, and many more endeavors.
For the sake of this list, we will keep Warren, Bill, and Melinda together under number 5.
4. Elon Musk
Setting reality distorting goals and visions, Elon Musk has always been one to reach for the sky (or Mars in this case). From Zip2 to Paypal to SpaceX to Tesla to Solar City to The Boring Company… Musk has definitely established himself as a billionaire inventor and possibly the real Iron Man.
Musk also has his sights set high for 2017 as this is the year we will see a fully autonomous Tesla drive across the United States – From New York to Los Angeles. If Tesla is able to accomplish this amazing feature hopefully without incident, it will definitely be a huge milestone for the company and the self-driving car industry.
On the energy front, Musk stated Tesla has been working in collaboration with Solar City to create Solar Roof Tiles. These roof tiles are intended to replace your current roof with a Solar Roof. Energy that Solar Roof Tiles capture from the sun can either be used instantly or get stored for future use in a Powerwall battery pack. If you wandering, these tiles go into production mid 2017.
Looks like its a good year so far for SpaceX as it has just achieved its 3rd successful launch of 2017. Not only were there successful launches but also successful sign ups in 2017. Elon Musk was approached by two anonymous individuals that were wandering if SpaceX can send them on a tour of the moon. Elon later said in a statement that the two travelers paid a large sum of money and are now set to orbit the moon in 2018. If successful, the two space travelers would be the first humans to venture into space in 40 years!
From building electric cars to envisioning the Hyperloop, this 2017 to-do list is sure to keep Elon Musk busy!
3. Donald Trump
A list about people that are changed the world in 2017 would not be complete without the mention of Donald Trump. From becoming the 45th president of the United States to tweeting at 3 a.m. Trump definitely continues to surprise the world. Bigly!
Against all odds…polls…and media predictions… Donald Trump managed to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016 primary becoming the 45th president of the United States when he assumed office on January 20, 2017.
However, not even 100 days into his Presidency, he has already been widely criticized for making erratic comments on Twitter, keeping the promises he made during his campaign trail, and attempting to enforce a number of policy issues.
President Trump has also recently came under scrutiny for his travel bans, immigration policies, and claims that the former U.S. president, Barrack Obama wiretapped the Trump Tower with the help of Britain.
That said, its still early in 2017 and we can definitely expect more news from the Trump Administration.
2. Ashton Kutcher
Michael Kelso is out to change the world in 2017? What?!
Its true! Many of recognize Ashton for his funny and comedic roles such as Kelso from ‘That 70’s Show’ and for replacing Charlie Sheen on the hit CBS show, ‘Two and a Half Men’ by playing Walden Schmidt.
However, what many people do not know about Ashton is his charitable endeavors and humanitarian work. Although a newcomer to philanthropy, Kutcher has been pretty busy trying to make the world a better place.
In 2009, his then wife, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher started the DNA Foundation. Now known as Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children is an international anti-human trafficking organization that focuses on addressing the sexual exploitation of children.
Although Demi and Ashton have since split, their vision for Thorn is still going strong with some big name companies also taking initiative in their effort.
Aside from working on Thorn, Kelso…I mean Ashton has also contributed to 16 other charities including UNICEF, Stand up to Cancer, and GEMS.
Keep up the good work Ashton!
Scott Harrison is the founder of Charity Water, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing clean drinking water to people in developing nations. As of mid January 2017, Charity: Water has raised over $40 million dollars and has helped over 2.5 million people in 19 countries.
Whats interesting is that Harrison left home at the age of 18 and went on to become a NYC fashion promoter and working with companies like MTV, VH1 and several others. However, while on a family trip to Uruguay, Harrison had a ‘crisis of conscious’ and was even quoted as saying “[I] was the worst person I knew” and “the most selfish, sycophantic and miserable human being”.
Fed up after 10 years of chasing girls and throwing lavish parties, Harisson decided to give up his unfulfilling lifestyle and founded Charity: Water.
The organization’s goal now is to bring clean water to 100 million people by 2020!