Why do the mega-rich give their money away? Filmed over two years, we follow three female billionaires from China, the USA and Russia, to understand why they get involved in charities and patronage. A rare look at the extraordinary world of mega-philanthropy, from selfless giving to the wielding of power and influence.
Over the past forty years, the number of billionaires has increased twenty-fold. Some use their wealth for charitable giving or patronage. But is this altruism, or a way of exercising power, or both?
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, based in California, is the daughter of a billionaire, and married to another. She leads a community of benefactors in Silicon Valley, and teachers a course on “The Art of Giving” at Stanford. In China, the formidable Madam Li manages the food industry giant “New Hope”. Between business trips and a glamorous social life, she also makes time to finance the studies of children of single mothers, as well as publishing books on citizenship. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Inna Bazhenova, is working to democratise the art world. She is an industrialist, a collector, and knowledgeable patron of the arts. Her website allows anyone to buy, sell and speculate on art using cryptocurrency.
From Paris to Chengdu, from Moscow to Palo Alto, from Venice to Monaco and the famous charity Rose Ball, we enter the secret world of these powerful philanthropists.