CNN founder Ted Turner is one of the richest individuals today, with a net worth of $2.3 billion. But similar to other business moguls, like Elon Musk, he won’t be leaving all of his wealth to his kids.
In 2010, the media tycoon publicly committed to giving away his fortune by signing the Giving Pledge, a public vow founded by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett for the wealthiest individuals to publicly declare that they will dedicate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.
The 83-year-old is among the first few people who signed the pledge. In his Giving Pledge letter, he said it was his father, an active member of civic organizations, who taught him about the importance of giving back.
“Giving back was instilled in me by my father at a young age,” he stated. “Not only did he make contributions to causes that he cared about, but he also supported the tuition of two African-American students at his alma mater, Milsaps College in the late 1950s.”
He continued, “It made a big impression on me to see someone as hard-charging as my father take the time to quietly help out two young people like this.”
In 1990, Turner founded the Turner Foundation, Inc. (TFI), which supports efforts to improve air and water quality, safeguard environmental health, and maintain wildlife habitat protection, among others.
Turner said TFI helped him understand the impact people can have through philanthropic contributions.
“To date, I’ve visited more than 60 countries in every part of the world. In addition to making a lot of friends, I’ve also seen firsthand the desperate challenges facing so many people. It’s been eye-opening for me, and I’ve discovered that the more people you meet, the more you learn, and the more you learn, the more you want to help, and the more you help, the better you feel,” Turner said.
“Looking back, if I had to live my life over, there are things I would do differently, but the one thing I would not change is my charitable giving. I’m particularly thankful for my father’s advice to set goals so high that they can’t possibly be achieved during a lifetime and to give help where help is needed most. That inspiration keeps me energized and eager to keep working hard every day on giving back and making the world a better place for generations to come,” he added.
America’s second-largest individual landowner to date, with roughly 2 million acres, has five children with his three ex-wives, namely: Rhett Turner, Laura Turner Seydel, Jennie Turner Garlington, Teddy Turner, and Beau Turner.
In 2018, Turner said he was suffering from a form of dementia that made him exhausted and forgetful.