SEATTLE — February 19, 2013 — Driven by interest from philanthropists around the globe, the Giving Pledge is growing beyond the United States for the first time since its inception in 2010. Wealthy families from Australia, Germany, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Kingdom have joined the pledge, committing to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy, bringing the total to 105 families committed to the 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.
The new pledge signatories announced today include Richard and Joan Branson, John Caudwell, Andrew and Nicola Forrest, Christopher Hohn, Dr Mo Ibrahim, Patrice and Precious Motsepe, Victor Pinchuk, Hasso Plattner, Vladimir Potanin, Azim Premji, David Sainsbury and Vincent Tan Chee Yioun.
This most recent group of signatories is representative of the impressive progress that has been made across the globe thanks to personal philanthropy. These individuals and families come from diverse industry and geographic backgrounds and give to a variety of issue areas but share a dedication to philanthropy that seeks to address the world's most pressing problems with innovation and efficiency. Although these individuals represent the first signatories to the Giving Pledge from outside the U.S., many of them have been working to make an impact through philanthropy for many years. Although the Giving Pledge was founded as a U.S.-based initiative, there has been consistent interest from people all over the world in joining the pledge.
"The Giving Pledge brings people together to exchange ideas about how to be as effective as possible and smarter in our giving." said Bill Gates, pledge co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "There are amazing examples of giving happening around the world — and not just among the wealthy — that we can learn from, and I am excited about the conversations and ideas that will happen thanks to this impressive group of international philanthropists. In many cases, their perspectives on giving will be informed by living much closer to the areas of greatest need."About the Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the world's wealthiest individuals and families to commit half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice.
The 105 pledgers range in age from 28 to 97. Globally, signatories represent nine separate countries. In the United States, they are from 23 states and the District of Columbia, with the largest contingents from California and New York. Pledgers give to a wide variety of causes, such as education, health, medical research, social services and the environment. The pledgers are at different stages in their philanthropy — some have already given away the majority of their wealth, 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 and failures, as well as how to be smarter about giving.
Although the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, it is inspired by past and present efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. The inspiration is the example set by millions of people 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.February 2013 Pledge Signatories (By Country):
|Australia||Andrew and Nicola Forrest||Russia||Vladimir Potanin|
|Germany||Hasso Plattner||South Africa||Patrice and Precious Motsepe|
|India||Azim Premji||Ukraine||Victor Pinchuk|
|Malaysia||Vincent Tan Chee Yioun||United Kingdom||
Richard and Joan Branson
"'Stuff' really is not what brings happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters.
Happily our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this. As and when we take monies out of the Virgin Group of companies the majority of it will be invested in entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world. We want the value created by the Virgin Group to be used to invest in new collaborative approaches to addressing issues, where business, governments and not-for-profits join forces to create a healthy, equitable and peaceful world for future generations to enjoy.
We started by trying to give a voice to the young people of the 1960s and hope our "Giving pledge" will help many generations to come. We look forward to working with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in expanding the number of people who are part of this pledge outside America."
"At the moment, my main charitable cause in terms of passion is Caudwell Children. This charity helps children in dire medical need, whatever their illness. It helps children whose parents don't have the financial ability to help them themselves. Caudwell Children helps about 3,000 children each year, and in some cases completely transforms their lives; in others it makes their lives more bearable, while for some it can make their dying wishes come true.
My hope for Caudwell Children is that we will eventually help every eligible child in the UK and in other countries if I can find like-minded individuals to help me."
Andrew and Nicola Forrest
"… while giving responsibly is challenging to do well, you will find it even more satisfying than the exhilaration you experienced when creating your enterprises. It was your logic, intuition, focus, foresight, good fortune, relentless determination and work capacity that produced the wealth you now ponder the future of. Yet it is also these same powerful talents that cause you to ask yourself, could I became a major philanthropist and responsibly use my wealth to improve communities and the lives of those less fortunate, potentially touching millions of people?"
Dr Mo Ibrahim
"In 2006 I launched the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to focus on the issues of Good Governance and Leadership in Africa. Good Governance is the basket of public goods governments must deliver to its people. It includes - but is not limited to - security, rule of law, economic opportunity, infrastructure, management of public finance, transparency, education, health and citizens rights. We need to move from narrative and rhetoric to facts and figures. Our Index of African Governance measures well over 100 parameters to evaluate government delivery in every African country. Effectively, we are producing an annual scorecard to measure performance. The objective is not to name or shame anybody but to understand where we are, what works and what doesn't and to facilitate an objective discussion between all governments, parliaments, academics, business, civil society and beyond."
Patrice and Precious Motsepe
"This selfless and compassionate characteristic is part of the age-old African culture of giving and caring for your neighbor and other members of your community. In South Africa it is embodied in the spirit and tradition of Ubuntu/Botho, in terms of which your well-being, happiness and success is dependent upon and influenced by the wellbeing, happiness and success of others…
[We] recognise the huge responsibility and duty that the Motsepe family has to poor, unemployed, disabled, women, youth, workers and marginalised South Africans. We also have an ongoing obligation of nation building, uniting black and white South Africans and contributing towards making Africa and the world a better place."
"My goal in my social investments is to empower the next generation to change their country and the world. To enable them to build a new country based on openness and an understanding of the world of today and tomorrow. My focus is on using innovative approaches to provide access to education, healthcare, and the inspirational power of contemporary art. Combined with modern and innovative business projects, I believe this constitutes a powerful formula for change. I have taken my first steps, with large scale scholarships programs, opening a museum of contemporary art with free admission, and establishing a network of neonatal clinics - but this is just the beginning.
I have a particular focus on my own country, Ukraine, and its integration with the world. As a post-Soviet society, Ukraine needs the support of "social investors" in order to implement reforms and to promote ideas like the rule of law. We face a long road ahead compared to Western countries, and we who have already benefitted from change must help more."
"More than 20 years ago I set up a foundation focusing on education and global health challenges. It is extremely rewarding to see the impact money well spent can have. I had the great privilege to study at one of the best German technical universities, University of Karlsruhe, and the education was nearly free. Without question this became the foundation for my personal success.
On one hand I feel obliged to support the company I once co-founded and on the other hand I want to give back to the society which enabled my education. The foundation is a way to do both."
"Several years ago I announced my decision to donate a major part of my wealth to philanthropy. I genuinely believe that wealth should work for public good and, therefore, I am trying to make my own contribution toward a better world, especially toward a better future for my own country, Russia.
I am confident that one cannot solve social problems by simply writing a check. Personal involvement is of great importance and that is why in 1999 I established my own foundation to support programs in the area of education, culture and philanthropy development."
"I strongly believe that those of us, who are privileged to have wealth, should contribute significantly to try and create a better world for the millions who are far less privileged. I will continue to act on this belief."
"The approach of my wife, Susie, and I to philanthropy is very simple. We do not believe that spending any more money on ourselves or our family would add anything to our happiness. However, using it to support social progress we have found deeply fulfilling. We focus on a few areas which require investment and which we care about deeply, and seeing these projects develop and bring major benefits to people has been a life-enhancing experience."
Vincent Tan Chee Yioun
"I am also keenly aware that there is only so much money that a person needs for himself and his family and this brings home the sense that when one is blessed with great wealth beyond what is needed, there is a corresponding moral and social responsibility to put the money to good use. For this reason, I have for many years done my part to help the less fortunate and under-privileged through monetary donations and other means of material support. I have also established a foundation known as Better Malaysia Foundation to organize and focus these efforts with the aim of giving back to the community and generally making Malaysia a better place. This, in part, is also to return to society what I have benefited through the support my fellow Malaysians have given to the various businesses of both the publicly listed Berjaya group of companies of which I am the major shareholder and my other privately held concerns."