10 More U.S. Families Commit to the Giving Pledge

Total of 69 Pledge Majority of Wealth to Philanthropy

SEATTLEApril 28, 2011 – Today 10 more of America's wealthiest families committed to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy by taking the Giving Pledge, bringing the total number of pledge signatories to 69. Launched by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in June of last year, the Giving Pledge is a long-term charitable initiative that aims to inspire conversations about philanthropy and increase charitable giving in the United States.

New pledge signatories announced today include Joyce and Bill Cummings, Ray and Barbara Dalio, John Paul DeJoria, Phillip and Patricia Frost, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm, Vinod and Neeru Khosla, Rich and Nancy Kinder, Edward W. and Deedie Potter Rose, Lynn Schusterman, and Annette and Harold Simmons.

"We are seeing great progress in less than a year," said Warren Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. "I am delighted that so many wealthy Americans are taking a public pledge that supports philanthropy. The continued energy and passion for this project, and the many philanthropy conversations it has sparked with families from all walks of life, are inspiring. We welcome our 10 new pledgers wholeheartedly."

"At an early age, my mother shared with me the privilege of giving back and I experienced how good it feels to help someone in need. That stuck with me in my adult life," said John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Patron Spirits Company, John Paul Pet and ROK. "I believe that we all have the responsibility to make the world a better place to live…its part of our rent for being here. My motto is 'success unshared is failure,' and that's something I've passed on to my children too."

Author and philanthropist Kevin Salwen is a firm believer in the power of multi-generational giving. Salwen's book, "The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back" co-authored with his 18 year-old daughter, Hannah, explores what happened when the family challenged themselves to downsize their lifestyle by half in order to give the remainder to a worthy charity.

"Our family applauds all of the Giving Pledge participants who are stepping out in their generosity," said Salwen. "We believe that everyone has the ability to share their resources – whether it's time, talent or treasure – with others on this planet who are in need. Can you think of a better reflection of the word philanthropy, which means love of mankind?"

About the Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society's most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest American families and individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract, and it does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. While it is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving, the idea takes its inspiration from other efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds.

Both Buffett and the Gateses have also recently had conversations with wealthy families and business leaders in China and India, to learn about their philanthropy efforts and what has worked in their communities.

A full list of those taking the pledge and personal letters by many of these pledgers outlining their commitment to give are available online at www.givingpledge.org.

April 2011 Pledge Signatories (by State):

California
  • John Paul DeJoria
  • Vinod and Neeru Khosla
New York Ray and Barbara Dalio
Florida Phillip and Patricia Frost Oklahoma
  • Harold and Sue Ann Hamm
  • Lynn Schusterman
Massachusetts Joyce and Bill Cummings Texas
  • Rich and Nancy Kinder
  • Edward W. and Deedie Potter Rose
  • Annette and Harold Simmons

Excerpts from Select Pledge Letters

Joyce and Bill Cummings

"Having already pledged privately years ago to donate 90 percent of our wealth to charity, we now publicly take the Giving Pledge in the hope that, with every new member, the Association will gain momentum and provide encouragement to others who have the capacity to give in very meaningful ways."

Ray and Barbara Dalio

"At first we experienced the worry about not being able to take care of the basics. When we earned more money, we experienced the diminishing benefits of having more money. We learned that beyond having enough money to help secure the basics - quality relationships, health, stimulating ideas, etc. - having more money, while nice, wasn't all that important….So we found taking our excesses and providing it to others who have extreme shortages has been both a good investment and a great satisfaction."

John Paul DeJoria

"Whether it's feeding thousands of orphans in third world countries, saving whales, helping the homeless find employment, protecting our waterways, rescuing young girls from prostitution, teaching and supplying families in Appalachia with equipment to grow their own vegetables, or any other worthwhile endeavor…giving back is a practice and joy I want my family to continue."

Harold and Sue Ann Hamm

"We have always felt a strong obligation to lead by example. Through our giving pledge, we hope to encourage others to commit their time and resources to worthy causes that will enable other people with ambition and tenacity to achieve their goals."

Rich and Nancy Kinder

"As longtime residents of [Houston], we have witnessed its extraordinary culture of entrepreneurship, which has enabled Houstonians of all backgrounds to improve their lives, use their talents and creativity, and pursue their dreams. In Houston, you are what you achieve. This stirs and motivates us to continue giving."

Lynn Schusterman

"We believe in the importance of investing in young people by providing them with educational experiences of high quality and by nurturing their creativity. I also pledge to continue working to encourage others, including emerging philanthropists of all ages and all capacities, to join us in seeking to repair the world; the further we broaden our reach, the more we will benefit from a diversity of people, perspectives and approaches as we strive to tackle problems of common concern."

Annette and Harold Simmons

"This country has been wonderful to me and Annette, and we have long planned to return a substantial majority of our wealth to society."