The Giving Pledge
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The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. As of August 2020[update], the pledge has 211 signatories from 23 countries. Most of the signatories of the pledge are billionaires, and their pledges total $1.2 trillion.
The organization's stated goal is to inspire the wealthy people of the world to give at least half of their net worth to philanthropy, either during their lifetime or upon their death. The pledge is a public gesture of an intention to give, not a legal contract. On The Giving Pledge's website, each individual or couple writes a letter explaining why they chose to give.
In June 2010, the Giving Pledge campaign was formally announced and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett began recruiting members. As of August 2010, the aggregate wealth of the first 40 pledgers was $125 billion. As of April 2011, 69 billionaires had joined the campaign and given a pledge, and by the following year, The Huffington Post reported that a total of 81 billionaires had pledged. By May 2017, 158 individuals and/or couples were listed as pledgers. Not all pledgers are billionaires.
Almost none of the signees have as of yet made significant progress towards upholding their pledge to give away half of their wealth, instead only accumulating more of it. Since the pledge was created in 2010, the wealth of the donors has not decreased but has instead increased from a combined $376 billion in 2010 to a combined $734 billion in 2020. Many who have made significant donations, have done so to donor-advised funds, which often pay salaries to their family members and have no obligation by law to actually spend the wealth on active charity organisations.
Donations in general are a topic of public debate because in many countries they are tax-deductible, which means that billionaires who owe the government a certain amount of taxes can instead opt to "donate" a similar amount of money to their chosen charity, such as donor-advised funds which have no legal obligation to actually pay out any of that wealth to those in need. The final result of which is that the government loses millions, if not billions in tax income, whilst the money itself just sits in a fund.
- Albrecht, Leslie. "The Giving Pledge turns 10: These billionaires pledged to give away half their wealth, but they soon ran into a problem". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
- "Forty U.S. billionaires pledge to give half their money to charity". Xinhua News Agency. 4 August 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
A statement from the Giving Pledge website said "the pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract."
- The Giving Pledge :: Pledger Profiles Retrieved 16 May 2017
- Carol Loomis (16 June 2010). "The $600 billion challenge". Fortune. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- Blackburn, Bradley (4 August 2010). "The Giving Pledge: Billionaires Promise to Donate at Least Half Their Fortunes to Charity". ABC News. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- 10 More U.S. Families Commit to the Giving Pledge , retrieved 25 October 2011
- "Warren Buffett, Bill Gates Giving Pledge Gets 12 More Billionaires To Commit Over Half Of Their Fortunes", Huffington Post, April 20 2012
- Lorenzetti, Laura (1 June 2016). "17 More Billionaires Join Buffett and Gates' Giving Pledge This Year". Fortune. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
- "The Real-Time Billionaires List". Forbes.
- "The Giving Pledge at 10: A Case Study in Top Heavy Philanthropy" (PDF). Inequality.org.