BOSTON — The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage the world’s wealthiest people to give half of their wealth to philanthropic causes. In 2010, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates made the Giving Pledge public, and by 2015 over 128 billionaires — or former billionaires — have signed the pledge.
This past week, the Giving Pledge welcomed 10 new billionaires to the project, including Brad and Kim Keywell from Groupon and Hamdi Ulukaya from Chobani. Ulukaya spoke to the Huffington Post on balancing his responsibilities as CEO of Chobani and his philanthropic efforts, and highlighted that there is “enough time to do it all…I don’t believe that you need to leave your business to do social good.”
The Giving Pledge gives billionaires a simple opportunity to help the world they live in. The Pledge went public to generate talk about their philanthropic efforts, which would in turn attract more people to help the supported causes.
What does the Giving Pledge do, aside from giving these billionaires a healthy tax break? The pledge asks that individuals give the majority of their wealth to the organization of their choice; it does not bind them to a specific cause. The individual must allocate 50 percent of their earnings during their lifetime or in their will.
The Giving Pledge is seen as a silver lining of the filthy rich as a big idea philanthropy. To an extent, it is a publicity stunt, but it is a publicity stunt that produces good results and in positive change.
The pledgers have taken on a variety of tasks, from unemployment in impoverished countries to cancer detection to tax reform and national debt. For example, Jeffrey Skoll, eBay’s first president, uses his pledge to tackle climate change and water security. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, is donating $800 million to philanthropic causes after paying his nephew’s college tuition. Yuri Milner, one of Facebook’s first major backers, gave $3 million in prizes to nine theoretical physicians to make advances in life sciences.
Randall Lane, editor of Forbes magazine, explains that billionaires have become so influential in problems the government cannot cover alone. With the Giving Pledge, they bring to the table wealth, brainpower and name recognition. The Giving Pledge asks billionaires to support a cause of their choice, which helps the billionaire’s image while helping those less fortunate.
– Hannah Resnick