In 2012, he made Forbes’ “Most Generous Celebrity” list and used even his earliest music as a platform for social change in Ireland. His net worth is estimated at $600 million, according to Forbes.
In a recent interview with Charlie Rose, he said: “Our music was always wrapped around social justice, which is where you and I met—you know—in the fight against extreme poverty. But I—that’s how I got in the door. People weren’t expecting that I wouldn’t leave.”
The work he's done with his non-partisan ONE foundation and numerous trips to Africa with UNICEF have garnered a lot of media attention. Broadly speaking, his main causes have centered around AIDS, Africa and humanitarian causes. He has also given to Greenpeace and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Over 30 years ago, he was involved in Live Aid with Bob Geldof, who was a speaker at the UBS Global Philanthropy Forum.
“Bono has mastered leveraging his celebrity capital, and frankly, he's become an icon in this space,” said Bill Sutton, Head of Client Philanthropy, UBS Financial Services, Inc. “When Live Aid happened, there was a change in guard in terms of how people gave. It became all about making a social change, and less about just getting your name on a building. It was a new and different approach with Bob and Bono, and then celebrities got inspired, as well as other people watching this music uniting people.”
Sutton said that the power of celebrity to inspire can be seen, not only in Bono’s decades of work, but also in Jon Bon Jovi's work on the Jersey Shore, Angelina Jolie's work with the U.N., Christy Turlington's work with Every Mother Counts, and others who take their very public platform and try to use it for good.
Of course, not all philanthropists also happen to be rock stars, but there are traits that make for successful giving initiatives and well-run family plans for pulling the trigger on deploying capital for a variety of causes. And no matter what kind of impact you want to make, ensure your giving strategy is built into your overall financial plan and consistent with your goals.