The Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. As of 2017, the pledge has 158 signatories, either individuals or couples; some of the 158 have since died. Most of the signatories of the pledge are billionaires, and their pledges total over $365 billion. It does not actually dictate that the money is spent in any certain way or towards any particular charity or cause, and there is no legal obligation to actually donate any money.
|Bill Gates and Warren Buffett|
The organization's 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 moral commitment 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 committed. As of 2012, signatories of the pledge included: Hasso Plattner, David Rockefeller, Azim Premji, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Sara Blakely, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. By May 2017, 158 individuals and/or couples were listed as pledgers.
Benefits to those making the PledgeEdit
- Immediate recognition (for non-binding pledge)
- Avoid paying taxes to the federal government
- Heirs may retain control of assets that would otherwise go to the government
“However, the admirable benefits of the Giving Pledge should not obscure two important consequences resulting from increased charitable donations. First, the Giving Pledge erodes the federal tax base, particularly the federal estate tax base. Second, the Giving Pledge can be satisfied by gifts and bequests to family-controlled private foundations. While some private foundations are commendable institutions pursuing important charitable objectives, others are not.
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, Sr. have been vigorous supporters of the federal estate tax. In this sense, there is considerable irony in the fact that Giving Pledgers avoid all federal estate taxes on the money they leave to charity. Indeed, much of the Giving Pledgers’ wealth consists of appreciated stock for which they have paid no federal income tax.
Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates, Sr. have spoken eloquently of the need for wealthy individuals to repay the public for the government services that made their wealth possible. A Giving Pledger (or other charitable donor) who leaves appreciated stock tax-free to charity makes no such repayment.
At least $365 billion of giving has been pledged by 139 individuals, with a combined 2016 net worth of $731 billion. Below is a list of all net worth amounts (pledges are not shown):
- Charity (practice)
- Charitable organization
- Earning to give
- Effective altruism
- List of members of the Forbes 400
- Random act of kindness
- The World's Billionaires
- Venture philanthropy
- "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."
- 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 October 25, 2011
- "Warren Buffett, Bill Gates Giving Pledge Gets 12 More Billionaires To Commit Over Half Of Their Fortunes", Huffington Post, April 20 2012
- "SAP Founder Plattner Joins Club of Billionaire Donors". Der Spiegel. 20 February 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
- "Wall Street Doners: David Rockefeller". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- "Azim Premji first Indian to sign up for Gates-Buffett charity", India Times, 2013-02-20. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Lazo, Alejandro (19 February 2013). "Richard Branson among non-U.S. billionaires joining Giving Pledge". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- "Apple CEO latest to sign The Giving Pledge". Dial2Donate. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
- Forbes:"Spanx Mogul Sara Blakely Becomes First Female Billionaire To Join Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge" by Clare O'Connor Retrieved 7 May 2013
- "Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Join Giving Pledge". Philanthropy News Digest. December 17, 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- The Giving Pledge :: Pledger Profiles Retrieved May 16, 2017
- Lorenzetti, Laura (June 1, 2016). "17 More Billionaires Join Buffett and Gates' Giving Pledge This Year". Fortune. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- "The Giving Pledge List Reaches $365 Billion". Insatiable Fox. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "The Giving Pledge List Reaches $365 Billion". Insatiable Fox. Retrieved 2016-04-23.