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Giving Pledge

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Subject: Altruism, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Meg Whitman, Peter B. Lewis, Irwin M. Jacobs, Mark Zuckerberg
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Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge
File:Giving pledge logo.jpg
Formation 2009
Type Advocacy organization
Founder Bill Gates, Warren Buffett

The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The campaign specifically focuses on billionaires and was made public in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The Huffington Post reported in April 2012 that "81 billionaires committed to giving at least half of their fortunes to charity".[1] As of July 2013, 113 billionaire individuals and couples and one family group have signed the pledge.[2]

Description of pledge

The official website states that it "is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in the world to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy." As of April 28, 2011, 69 billionaires had joined the campaign and pledged to give 50% or more of their wealth to charity.[3] An estimate of the contribution promised by the first 40 donors, based on their aggregate wealth as at August 2010, was at least $125 billion.[4]

According to the pledge the donation can happen either during the lifetime or after the death of the donor.[4] The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract.[5]

Beginning of campaign

In 2006, before the campaign began, Buffett had committed much of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The fact of the meeting was leaked to the media, creating curiosity about the nature of the meeting. Gates and Buffett organized two related subsequent dinners for which the complete attendee lists have not been made public. The second dinner was at the New York Public Library in November 2009 and was attended by Kenneth and Elaine Langone and Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest among others. It was at this meeting that Marguerite proposed that "the rich should sit down, decide how much money they and their progeny need, and figure out what to do with the rest of it". A third dinner in December 2009 at the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park, California was attended by John and Ann Doerr and John and Tashia Morgridge among others.

In June 2010 the campaign for the Giving Pledge was formally announced, and Gates and Buffett gave notice that eligible pledgees were being contacted to join.[6]

Expansion into other countries

Buffett said that he would meet wealthy individuals in India and China to talk about philanthropy and stated that they hope the idea of generosity will spread.[7] He stated, "We're hoping that America, which is the most generous society on Earth, becomes even more generous over time."[8]

In March 2011, Gates and Buffett visited in India to talk about the Giving Pledge.[9]

French billionaires Arnaud Lagardère and Liliane Bettencourt were approached as well by Buffett but refused to enter the Giving Pledge[10][11] and declined to comment about the matter.


The following are signatories to the Giving Pledge as at July 2013:[12]


External links

  • Charlie Rose show (53:48)
  • Reuters Video
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