×

The Giving Pledge Welcomes 13 New Signatories

Global community now includes 216 philanthropists from 24 countries

SEATTLEDecember 21, 2020 – Today the Giving Pledge announced that 13 philanthropists have joined the Giving Pledge since May 2019, bringing the total number of signatories to 216 from 24 countries.

Now in its 10th year, the Giving Pledge is a global, multi-generational commitment by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and couples to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills. It aims to create a movement that will help change the norms around wealth and giving on a global scale.

The signatories announced today are:

  • Marcel Arsenault and Cynda Collins Arsenault, United States
  • Sarah and Rich Barton, United States
  • Ron and Gayle Conway, United States
  • William Gross, United States
  • Gordon V. Hartman, United States
  • Yan Huo and Xue Fang, United Kingdom
  • Robert E. “Bob” and Dorothy “Dottie” King, United States
  • José Ferreira Neves, Portugal
  • Jim Pattison, Canada
  • Chad Richison, United States
  • Jeff and Marieke Rothschild, United States
  • Stephen A. Schwarzman, United States
  • David and Bonnie Weekley, United States

Warren Buffett, who started the Giving Pledge along with Bill and Melinda Gates, said: “The Giving Pledge is a simple proposal to the world’s wealthiest: join us in giving away the majority of your resources to address society’s most pressing problems. As we mark 10 years of the Pledge, I want to thank the more than 200 individuals and families from 24 countries who have joined in this commitment to leave the world better than we found it.”

The newest signatories to the Giving Pledge are already deeply engaged in philanthropy, providing support to a wide range of causes including COVID relief, climate change and sustainability, education, medical research, humanitarian disaster relief, gender equality and social justice.

As the world faces its biggest public health and economic crises in a century, and many countries grapple with systemic social and racial inequities, efforts like the Giving Pledge aim to inspire those who have more than they need to give bigger and sooner.



About The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is a global, multi-generational commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and couples that aims to create a greater culture of giving in order to help tackle society’s most pressing problems. Signatories of the Giving Pledge make a moral commitment to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. They also come together to learn and share knowledge in order to continue to improve the effectiveness of philanthropic giving.

The 216 Pledgers range in age from 35 to 97. Globally, signatories represent 24 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United States, Pledgers hail from 30 states and the District of Columbia, with the largest contingents from California and New York.

The Giving Pledge does not involve either pooling or granting funds or requirements to support any particular cause or organization.

For the full list of pledgers and their personal letters stating their commitment to give, visit www.givingpledge.org.



Biographies of New Pledgers

Marcel Arsenault and Cynda Collins Arsenault, United States

Cynda Collins Arsenault and Marcel Arsenault are co-founders of the Arsenault Family Foundation, the One Earth Future Foundation (OEF), and the Secure World Foundation (SWF). Through these foundations, they pursue their passion of promoting systems of governance which prevent war.

Cynda brings diverse voices together to solve difficult problems with a focus on women, peace, and security. She has 45+ years of experience in non-profit work including peace and justice, criminal justice, mental health, disability rights and environmental issues.

Marcel Arsenault is an investor, serial entrepreneur, and CEO of Real Capital Solutions (RCS) where he oversees a portfolio exceeding $1.5 billion in real estate assets. He brings an entrepreneurial and impact-focused drive to philanthropy based on his many years of expertise building successful businesses.

As Chairman and CEO of OEF, Marcel passionately drives the peacebuilding foundation to solve complex problems at the root of armed conflict. Through its unique culture of iterative learning and improvement, OEF designs, tests, and partners to scale economic development and peacebuilding programs in some of the most fragile states in the world including Somalia and Colombia. Marcel’s vision is an Earth beyond war, achieved by new and effective systems of global governance.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“Most people believe that money has an innate power to solve problems. Money is only an accelerant, which in the right hands can supercharge high performance. In the wrong hands money can lead to destructive ends. We view our money as an obligation and a tool to accelerate a more peaceful world for humanity.”


 

Sarah and Rich Barton, United States

After growing up in New Jersey, earning her BA at Williams College and MD at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Sarah Barton moved to Seattle to complete her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Washington. In addition to caring for patients, since 2014, she has taught women’s health clinics in prison at the Washington Corrections Center for Women. Through that work, and by visiting with incarcerated individuals in California, Oregon, and Washington, she gained insight into the need for justice reform, now the primary area of focus for the foundation that Sarah manages, the Barton Family Foundation.

Internet entrepreneur Rich Barton co-founded Zillow Group in 2005 and currently serves as the company’s CEO. Before Zillow, he founded Expedia within Microsoft and successfully spun it out as a public company in 1999, serving as president, CEO and board director until 2003. Rich also cofounded Glassdoor in 2007, operating as nonexecutive chairman until 2018, and was a venture partner at Benchmark from 2005 to 2018. He was named an inaugural member of Barack Obama’s Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship in 2014. Rich has participated on numerous boards for public companies and nonprofit organizations, including Common Sense Media and Year Up. He is presently a board director for Netflix, Qurate, Artsy and Zillow Group and also sits on advisory boards at Stanford University in California, where he earned his BS in General Engineering: Industrial Economics.

 

Ron and Gayle Conway, United States

Ron Conway is the founder and Co-Managing Partner of SV Angel. Ron has been an active angel investor since the mid-1990s. He was the Founder and Managing Partner of the Angel Investors LP funds. Early in his career, Ron was with National Semiconductor Corporation in marketing positions, Altos Computer Systems as a co-founder, President and CEO.

Philanthropically, Ron is a board member of the Salesforce.com Foundation, a major donor and advisor to UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, College Track, several anti-gun violence organizations and the THORN Foundation to stop human trafficking. Ron is an advocate for technology companies and civic engagement in San Francisco and is founder and Chairman of sf.citi (San Francisco’s tech-civic organization). Ron is also an advocate for immigration reform and a co-founder of FWD.US. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Ron has been involved in efforts to secure PPE, fund raising for a drug therapy/vaccine, and organized the COVID-19 Tech Task Force covidtech.org which is acting as a clearinghouse for industry, policymakers, and public health officials on epidemiological and geo data insights as well as contact tracing and exposure notification projects.

Pledge quote:

“Gayle and I are delighted to join the Giving Pledge in the hope that we can inspire others to engage in philanthropic efforts. We're proud to join so many others in the tech community in making this commitment. Now more than ever, philanthropy is needed to help solve societal issues like income inequality, gun violence, access to healthcare, and racial injustice that are polarizing our nation."


 

William Gross, United States

Mr. Gross has been a pioneer in fixed income investing for more than 40 years. He co-founded PIMCO in 1971 and served as managing director and its chief investment officer until joining Janus in 2014. Over the past several decades, Bill Gross has donated more than $700 million to charity, of which the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation’s $400 million in assets are a significant part. The Foundation annually gifts nearly $20 million to philanthropic causes. Mr. Gross actively visits prospective charitable organizations and is passionate about their work. The Foundation’s contributions have made a meaningful impact to local communities throughout Southern California and provides financial support to those in need through contributions in three primary areas: Humanitarian Efforts, Education and Healthcare.

Mr. Gross has long believed in the importance of giving back to the community. While at PIMCO, he founded and provided seed funding for the PIMCO Foundation and required all of the firm’s Managing Directors to contribute at least 1% of their compensation every year to ensure ongoing funding for the PIMCO Foundation.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“Sharing is always an evolving feature of a healthy society, both with maturing children and aging adults.”


 

Gordon V. Hartman, United States

San Antonian Gordon Hartman sold his successful home building business in 2005 to devote his energies to helping the special-needs community. Daughter Morgan, who’s dealt with physical and cognitive challenges since birth, inspired Hartman’s and wife Maggie’s commitment to inclusion and led to the creation of non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first and only theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment. The tremendous success of Morgan’s Wonderland prompted Hartman to build additional fully-inclusive, ultra-accessible™ outdoor recreation places including award-winning Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park, Morgan’s Wonderland Sports complex and Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, offering a summer-camp-type experience to those with and without special needs on a ruggedly-beautiful 100-acre site on San Antonio’s outskirts. Additional major projects include the Multi-Assistance Center at Morgan’s Wonderland, or The MAC, a 165,000-square-foot facility housing multiple providers and constituting a one-stop-shop to help those with special needs find solutions for medical and therapeutic issues as well as challenges related to social determinants of health. Hartman also has served as a trusted advisor to innumerable non-profit organizations to help them achieve success in serving those in need.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“The cost of caring for a child or adult with special-needs is staggering. This segment of society is largely over-looked, marginalized and has no voice. Our mission in life is to make their world a little easier to navigate and enjoy and to be their advocate. We believe in and advocate for Ultra Accessibility™ – the creation of venues that are built for everyone but with an emphasis and desire to accept and include, without barriers, those with special needs. A place that ensures 100% of the population is accepted and not just those who are fully able.”


 

Yan Huo and Xue Fang, United Kingdom

Yan Huo is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Capula Investment Management LLP. Prior to co-founding Capula in 2005, Yan spent most of his professional career at JP Morgan, where he worked in its derivatives research and proprietary positioning business. Yan is a member of the board of directors for Teach for China, and a Trustee of Princeton and Fudan Universities. He holds a PhD and an MBA in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University and a BS in Physics from Fudan University.

Xue Fang is a member of the President’s Advisory Council of Princeton University, serves as a director of the Beijing Lead Future Foundation, and is on the Board of Overseers of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Xue studied Biology at Beijing University before attending the Graduate School of Princeton University to study for a PhD in Neuroscience. She also holds an MS in Biostatistics from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She has participated in several medical research projects and has worked as a biostatistician in Schering-Plough, a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“We set up the Huo Family Foundation with a mission to support education, communities and the pursuit of knowledge. We are still at the beginning of our philanthropic journey and we have much to learn. We want to become more effective in our giving and we are delighted to be joining with others in the Giving Pledge so that we can collaborate and learn from each other.”


 

Robert E. “Bob” and Dorothy “Dottie” King, United States

Robert E. “Bob” King and Dorothy “Dottie” King live in Menlo Park, California and Kennebunkport, Maine. Bob has been an active investor in domestic and international companies for more than 60 years. He developed a highly successful investment approach, identifying long-term investment opportunities by focusing on fundamental change forces at work in the world (political, social, economic, and technological).

Dottie has been active in numerous nonprofit organizations and ministries for many decades. After more than 30 years as active philanthropists, Bob and Dottie consolidated and enhanced their philanthropic efforts in 2016 by establishing King Philanthropies, which is focused on combating extreme poverty in Africa and Asia. In addition to creating Stanford Seed and the Stanford King Center on Global Development, King Philanthropies supports high-performing organizations with proven interventions in Africa and Asia through its King Essentials program, and Global Scholars at Dartmouth, the University of Wisconsin, and in the Stanford Knight-Hennessy Program.

Most recently, King Philanthropies created the King Climate Action Initiative at J-PAL at MIT, which will work at the intersection of climate change and extreme poverty.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“We are on a constant search for how to be good stewards of these resources and apply them to achieve the most impact.”


 

José Ferreira Neves, Portugal

José has been involved in the fashion start-up world since the mid-1990s when he launched footwear business SWEAR. José later founded SIX London, a fashion licensing and wholesale company selling to 600 retailers worldwide. In 2001 José opened the renowned bstore, which won the British Fashion Award for Retailer of the Year in 2006.

In 2008 José Neves launched Farfetch, bringing together his interests in fashion and technology, as well as his experience in design, wholesale and retail, to create a business that would celebrate and support the diversity of the global fashion industry. His vision was to create a single portal, offering independent boutiques the opportunity to compete with the leaders of fashion e-commerce.

In 2020, José launched the José Neves Foundation, which focuses on expanding knowledge and education in Portugal, to develop a society of knowledge and enhance the country’s place in the world.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“Our Foundation will endeavor at creating a society where profound human development is achieved by working on the inner as well as the outer levels of our human experience.”


 

Jim Pattison, Canada

The Jim Pattison Group began on May 8, 1961 when Mr. Pattison purchased a General Motors automobile dealership by borrowing $40,000 from the Royal Bank of Canada, and placing his home and life insurance policy with the Bank as collateral.

Jim has served as a Director on a number of public companies and serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. He held the unpaid position of Chairman, President and CEO of Expo ’86, a world-class Exposition held in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1986. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1987 and the Order of British Columbia in 1990. He is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canada. Mr. Pattison is an inductee of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame and was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year – Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and the Young Presidents Organization Canadian Icon Award in 2007. In April, 2012 by Command of Her Majesty The Queen, Mr. Pattison received the Diamond Jubilee Medal commemorating her sixtieth anniversary.

Mr. Pattison has been married to his wife Mary for 68 years and they have three children.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“From as far back as I can remember, my parents taught me the importance of giving back.”


 

Chad Richison, United States

In 1998, Chad Richison founded Paycom, where he serves as its president and chief executive officer, as well as the chairman of its board of directors. For four consecutive years, Mr. Richison's leadership has propelled Paycom into the top of Fortune magazine’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list of domestic and foreign publicly traded companies, while also accelerating the company to reach a market cap of approximately $25 billion. In 2015, he started the Green Shoe Foundation, an organization devoted to helping functioning adults reconcile childhood traumas so they can live a life of peace and maturity. As a philanthropist, he gives to many other sustainable organizations through the Richison Family Foundation. Mr. Richison has received many honors including earning Ernst & Young’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“What we can achieve in life is only limited to our imagination and when we do good deeds, the whole world unites to help us.”


 

Jeff and Marieke Rothschild, United States

Jeff Rothschild was co-founder of the storage software company Veritas Software and the online gaming company Mpath Interactive. Jeff joined Facebook in 2005 as VP Infrastructure Engineering and spent 10 years focused on scalability, availability, and performance. Since leaving Facebook in 2015, Jeff has been working as an investor and mentor to entrepreneurs and is on the board of Pure Storage. Jeff also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University, where he had earned his BA in Psychology and MS in Computer Science.

Marieke Rothschild earned a BA in Languages at UC Santa Cruz, is a trustee of Colby College, and serves on the board of the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“The central theme of our philanthropy has been to have a positive impact on the lives of others who have not had the opportunities and good fortune we have enjoyed.”


 

Stephen A. Schwarzman, United States

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms. In both business and philanthropy, Mr. Schwarzman has dedicated himself to tackling big problems with transformative solutions. To date, he has given away over a billion dollars to fund projects across education, culture and the arts, among other areas. His major gifts have helped establish a new center for the Humanities at the University of Oxford, including a new institute to study the ethics of artificial intelligence; create a new college at MIT dedicated to the study of AI; build a first-of-its-kind student center at Yale; renovate and expand the New York Public Library; and found Schwarzman Scholars, an international fellowship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China.

Mr. Schwarzman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Business Roundtable, and International Business Council of the WEF. He was named one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEO’s” in 2019; Forbes’ Top 50 “World’s Most Powerful People” in 2018; Forbes’ most influential person in finance in 2016; and one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2007. His honors include the Légion d'Honneur and Ordre des Arts et des Letters from France, and Order of the Aztec Eagle from Mexico.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“My philanthropy has brought a tremendous sense of joy and meaning to my life and I anticipate I will find more ways to give back during my lifetime. I’m proud that many of my projects have prompted the philanthropic participation of others, either in terms of giving to the same institution or giving to a similar effort elsewhere.”


 

David and Bonnie Weekley, United States

David M. Weekley, Chairman of David Weekley Homes, began his home building company at the age of 23. The Company has been named to FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list 14 times.

As a community leader and Distinguished Eagle Scout, David is Past Chairman of the Sam Houston Area Council of Boy Scouts, Past President of the Greater Houston Builder’s Association, former Chairman of Metro Houston Young Life, former Chair of the Greater Houston Community Foundation, former Chair of the Houston Young Presidents’ Organization, and former Board Chair of Alpha Houston.

As Chairman of the David Weekley Family Foundation, David practices a venture philanthropy model of investing treasure, time and talent to grow non-profits and social enterprises serving the poor and disadvantaged. The Foundation’s international portfolio concentrates on improving education, health and livelihoods with a focus on helping young, innovative organizations scale up their proven models to reduce global poverty. Whether it is given locally or internationally, David is committed to improving the lives of less fortunate.

He and his wife, Bonnie, have been married for 44 years and have three children and seven grandchildren.

Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:

“Many consider philanthropy ‘soft’ or secondary, and yet the same qualities that have made our business such a source of personal fulfillment are found daily in our philanthropic pursuits as well – the ability to walk alongside incredibly high potential people as they strive to make a profound impact on our world.”