The Giving Pledge is a movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

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History of the Pledge

In August 2010, 40 of America’s wealthiest people joined together in a commitment to give the majority of their wealth to address some of society’s most pressing problems. Created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge came to life following a series of conversations with philanthropists around the world about how they could collectively set a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.

“This is about building on a wonderful tradition of philanthropy that will ultimately help the world become a much better place.” – Bill Gates

The Giving Pledge is a simple concept: an open invitation for billionaires, or those who would be if not for their giving, to publicly commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. It is inspired by the example set by millions of people at all income levels who give generously – and often at great personal sacrifice – to make the world better. Envisioned as a multi-generational effort, the Giving Pledge aims over time to help shift the social norms of philanthropy among the world’s wealthiest people and inspire people to give more, establish their giving plans sooner, and give in smarter ways.

Those who join the Giving Pledge often write a letter explaining their decision to engage deeply and publicly in philanthropy and describing the causes that motivate them. Signatories fund a diverse range of issues including poverty alleviation, refugee aid, disaster relief, global health, education, women and girls’ empowerment, medical research, criminal justice reform, environmental sustainability, and arts and culture.

While originally focused on the United States, the Giving Pledge quickly saw interest from philanthropists around the world. In February 2013, the pledge went global with signatories from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

Today, the Giving Pledge includes more than 200 of the world’s wealthiest individuals, couples, and families, ranging in age from their 30s to their 90s. Globally, they represent 23 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), Cyprus, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Monaco, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Joining the Giving Pledge is more than a one-time event. It means becoming part of an energized community of some of the world’s most engaged philanthropists to discuss challenges, successes, and failures, and to share ideas to get smarter about giving. Signatories are united by a shared commitment to learning and giving, and the Giving Pledge team provides opportunities for signatories to gather throughout the year to learn from experts how to best leverage their philanthropy to address some of the world’s biggest challenges.