Branson’s nonprofit foundation, Virgin Unite, teams governments, business leaders and volunteers to forge solutions to global ills. In an effort to head off war, for example, a VU group in 2003 tried to convince Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq – too late, as it turned out. The organization also has worked behind the scenes in Zimbabwe to help establish a coalition government. In the U.S., a VU task force is targeting the proliferation of street children. And Branson has commissioned a study of drug enforcement policies around the world.
“America’s drug policy is the most oppressive on its poor people and black community when it comes to jailing the drug user,” he said. “We hope this commission can come up with some different ideas, because if you spent the same money on drug rehab that you spent in prisons, the results would be massively better.”
I'm not convinced about how much a not-for-profit like this can actually accomplish, but at the very least, having him shine a spotlight on these subjects can't hurt, right?
Ultimately, the people who are going to get shit done aren't rebel billionaires (or even startup guys with blogs) -- they're regular folks.
Let's just give them all the data, enough resources to do what they need to, and get out of their way.
(Thanks for the tip, @ilovecomputers)