In a world full of celebrities behaving badly and so much misfortune and poverty, it is refreshing to write about The Giving Pledge, an organization created for the purpose of asking the wealthiest individuals in the world (Richard Branson, Bill and Melinda Gate, Warren Buffett, etc.)to make a commitment to give the majority of their fortune to philanthropic and charitable causes either while they’re alive or after their death.
What is called a “moral contract,” was started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010. Prior to that, Buffett had promised most of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was started by the Microsoft founder and his wife to support initiatives in education, world health and population, and community giving
After meeting with various philanthropists, Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates formed The Giving Pledge and by 2011, 69 billionaires in the United States had pledged to give 50% or more of their wealth to charity, including well-known figures like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. According to The Daily Mail, the campaign is not designed to collect money but to ask the wealthiest amongst us to give a portion of their fortune to whatever good cause or charitable organization they wish to support.
Recently, the organization has been reaching out to billionaires outside of the United States and it was announced on February 20 that Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records, has pledged half of his fortune to charity. Reports indicate that his fortune is somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 billion.
In a statement announcing his signing of the Giving Pledge, Branson said that his children (who are our principal heirs) agree with him on this and that the money would be given to charities that work with business and governments to “create a healthy, equitable and peaceful world”. Along with Branson, a dozen international billionaires also newly signed the Giving Pledge.
Truly a case of paying one’s good fortune forward. Well done, Sir Richard Branson and all the other Giving Pledge supporters.