Eleven More U.S. Families Pledge Majority of Wealth to Philanthropy

The Giving Pledge continues to gain momentum as total number of signatories reaches 92

SEATTLESeptember 18, 2012 — With commitments from 11 more of America's wealthiest families, a total of 92 families have now committed to give half of their wealth to philanthropy by taking the Giving Pledge. Initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010, the Giving Pledge is a long-term initiative that aims to inspire conversations about philanthropy and increase charitable giving in the United States.

The new pledge signatories announced today include Manoj Bhargava, Charles R. Bronfman, Dan and Jennifer Gilbert, Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin, Peter B. Lewis, Gordon and Betty Moore, Jonathan M. Nelson, Jorge M. and Darlene Perez, Claire and Leonard Tow, Albert Lee Ueltschi, and Dr. Romesh and Kathleen Wadhwani.

This most recent group of pledge signatories comes from diverse business backgrounds including technology, real estate, and finance. The new pledgers hail from California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island.

"We've said from the beginning that this is a long-term effort, so it's exciting to see continued progress over the last two years," said Bill Gates, pledge co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This new group brings extensive business and philanthropic experience that will enrich the conversation about how to make philanthropy as impactful as possible. Their thoughtfulness and deep commitment to philanthropy are an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to many others as well."

About the Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice.

The 92 pledgers range in age from 28 to 97. They represent 23 states and the District of Columbia, with the largest contingents from California and New York. They give to a wide variety of causes, including education, health, medical research, social services, the environment, and others. The pledgers are at different stages in their philanthropy – some have already given away the majority, while some are just getting started. But they have all committed to give half their wealth, with more than 30 pledging even more in their Giving Pledge letters.

The Giving Pledge encourages open conversation about philanthropy and does not involve direct appeals, pooling money or requirements to support a particular cause or organization. Pledge signatories come together throughout the year to discuss challenges, successes, failures, and how to be smarter about giving.

While the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, it borrows from past and present efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. The inspiration is the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.

For the full list of pledgers and personal letters by many of these pledgers outlining their commitment to give, visit www.givingpledge.org.

September 2012 Pledge Signatories (By State):

California
  • Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin
  • Gordon and Betty Moore
  • Dr. Romesh and Kathleen Wadhwani
Michigan
  • Manoj Bhargava
  • Dan and Jennifer Gilbert
Connecticut Claire and Leonard Tow New York Charles R. Bronfman
Florida
  • Peter B. Lewis
  • Jorge M. and Darlene Perez
  • Albert Lee Ueltschi
Rhode Island Jonathan M. Nelson

Excerpts from Select Pledge Letters

Manoj Bhargava

"Service to others seems the only intelligent choice for the use of wealth. The other choices especially personal consumption, seem either useless or harmful."

Bhargava is the founder and CEO of 5-hour Energy. He was born in Lucknow, India and moved to the United States in 1967 at the age of 14. Bhargava's foundations include Knowledge Medical Charitable Trust and Rural India Charitable Trust. He has contractually pledged a billion dollar gift to these charities, which have funded medical research in the United States and over 400 charities in India. Two of the major initiatives are hospitals for the poor and education for disadvantaged women in rural areas.

Charles R. Bronfman

"Philanthropy is in the DNA of my family. My parents were both active participants in Jewish, local Montreal and Canadian charities. The dining table conversation was a place for discussing what was important to them in that world…it is no surprise then, that each of us has contributed to society."

In addition to his 50-year career with The Seagram Company Limited, Charles Bronfman served as chairman and principal owner of the Montreal Expos, the first Major League Baseball Club to exist outside of the United States. He currently serves as chairman of The Andrea & Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc. (ACBP), a family of charitable foundations operating in Israel, the US and Canada. ACBP is committed to encouraging young people to strengthen their knowledge and appreciation of their history, heritage and cultural identity.

Dan and Jennifer Gilbert

"It has been exciting more than words can express living in this great country and being able to start, develop, and grow businesses. It will be even more exciting to deploy the wealth these businesses created to improve our world which I feel confident will be a much better place in the years and decades ahead."

Dan Gilbert is founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Through their personal giving and corporate philanthropy, the Gilberts focus on research and treatment for neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system, and economic development in Detroit and Cleveland. In 2007, Dan Gilbert launched Bizdom U, a non-profit entrepreneurial academy that trains, mentors and finances start-up enterprises in Detroit and Cleveland.

Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin

"It's an honor to be able to try to help our community, our country and our planet through our philanthropy. We are thrilled to join with other fortunate people to pledge a majority of our assets to be invested in others. We hope through this community that we can learn as we go, and do our best to make a positive difference for many."

Reed Hastings is the CEO of Netflix, and sits on the boards of Microsoft, Facebook, and numerous nonprofit organizations. Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are active in educational philanthropy and politics with a specific focus on charter schools. Hastings served as President of the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2004.

Peter B. Lewis

"Taking the Giving Pledge comes naturally for me. I began giving with nickels to my Temple when my father explained to me that giving to help others is a Jewish tradition. Those nickels, contributed to nonprofits over the years, now total nearly $500 million. Having already given away nearly half my net worth, I plan to keep on going…The catch phrases that drive my life and philanthropy include: Enjoy every day; Think outside the lines; Risk, learn and grow; Ideas are easy, execution pays off; Constantly improve; Admit mistakes, fix them and move on; Problems are opportunities; Hard work makes winners."

Lewis is Chairman of Progressive Insurance Companies, the company his father co-founded. Through the PBL Fund and his personal giving, Lewis focuses on the arts, higher education and progressive causes including marijuana reform. Lewis has also established The Management Center, a nonprofit training and consulting group.

Gordon and Betty Moore

"In 2001 we devoted half of our wealth to create a foundation that would take risks in order to innovate and achieve meaningful results. Nearly 12 years later we remain committed to creating positive outcomes for future generations, and we're focused on areas where we believe that we can make a difference: environmental conservation, patient care and science. We are pleased to be a part of the Giving Pledge not only because we are able to commit these funds, but because we believe they can lead to real learning and measurable change."

Gordon Moore is co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel, the world's largest semiconductor chipmaker. Through the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Moores focus on conservation, patient care and scientific research--around the world and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through the Moore Family Foundation, they support higher education, conservation, the sciences and local social services.

Jonathan M. Nelson

"One of the admirable qualities of our great country is the history and culture of helping those less fortunate. In America giving is not unusual; it is mainstream. I always thought if I were lucky enough to be in a position to help others, I would. The vast majority of Americans are this way. This is who we are. And while separate acts of generosity are generally not remarkable, taken as a whole it defines us. I never imagined not doing my part."

Nelson is the founder and CEO of Providence Equity Partners. He is a trustee of Brown University and also serves on the board of Newport Festivals Foundation.

Jorge M. and Darlene Perez

"I came to this country in 1968 without a penny to my name but with the hope of becoming successful and leaving some type of meaningful legacy behind…while I worked hard to get where I am, it would have never happened without the assistance of many individuals and institutions along the way...it is so very important for us, the lucky few, to contribute our resources to make this a better and more fair world."

Jorge M. Perez is co-founder, chairman and CEO of The Related Group. He and his wife, Darlene, focus their personal giving on the arts and higher education.

Claire and Leonard Tow

"Claire and I never believed that the wealth we accumulated was truly ours. From the beginning we believed that we were only lifetime stewards of our good fortune and were charged with redeploying it for useful societal purpose."

Claire and Len Tow co-founded Century Communications Corporation, one of America's largest cable television companies. They have each served on the boards of several public companies and nonprofit organizations. Leonard Tow is CEO of New Century Holdings, LLC, and was formerly chairman and CEO of Citizens Communications Company, a telecom company. Motivated by the desire to help those in need, The Tow Foundation was founded in 1988 and focuses on medical research, cultural institutions, higher education and juvenile justice.

Albert Lee Ueltschi

"…because I have been so fortunate in my professional life, I am now in a position to make certain the good fortune that was mine is given back to society in a meaningful way. So, I'm happy to sign on to the Giving Pledge, because every one of us has the opportunity - and the obligation – to make a difference by helping other people."

Ueltschi was the founder of FlightSafety International. In 2010 he founded HelpMeSee, which is dedicated to helping the 20 million people worldwide who suffer from treatable blindness.

Dr. Romesh and Kathleen Wadhwani

Dr. Romesh Wadhwani founded Symphony Technology Group, a Private Equity firm. The Wadhwani Foundation's mission is to accelerate economic development in India and other emerging economies by creating jobs and developing skills. The Wadhwani Foundation works across the higher education spectrum and leverages government resources and market forces to achieve scale.