The Billionaire Who’s Giving Away 99% of His Wealth

Good Doer Profile: By day, Manoj Bhargava is the CEO of the energy drink, 5-hour Energy – but by night, he’s on a mission to save the world.

Oct 28, 2015
Manoj Bhargava, CEO and Founder of 5-hour Energy

Manoj Bhargava is the CEO and Founder of 5-hour Energy

It’s not uncommon for successful entrepreneurs or prominent businessmen and women to dip their toes into the philanthropic pool – setting up foundations, hosting charity events, and donating money to do-good causes around the world. But some choose to dive in headfirst - such is the case with founder and CEO of 5-hour EnergyManoj Bhargava, who has pledged to give away 99 percent of his $4 billion fortune.

Bhargava joins Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and other high-profile names as a signee of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to dedicate a majority of their wealth to doing good. Bhargava’s share comes in the form of the aptly named Billions in Change Movement – “a movement to save the world through the widespread implementation of solutions in the areas of water, energy and health.” And when Bhargava says he wants to save the world, he doesn’t intend to do so half-heartedly. To fulfill his mission, Bhargava created Stage 2 Innovations – essentially a well-funded research playground for engineers. The company has already cranked out some ingenious inventions that include the Rain Maker – a machine that turns 1,000 gallons of seawater into drinking water in just one hour – and Free Electric – a stationary bike that produces 24 hours of electricity from one hour of pedaling.

Regardless of wealth, donating such a significant portion of one’s fortune is no easy decision. To Bhagrava, this is much more than just a kind gesture - he considers it his duty. As Bhagrava says, “awareness doesn’t reduce pollution or grow food. That takes doing. If you have wealth, it’s a duty to help those who don’t.”

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.

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