SEATTLE — May 30, 2017 — Today the Giving Pledge announced the addition of 14 new individuals and couples to its growing list of signatories. The philanthropy effort continues to expand internationally with the addition of philanthropists from Australia, China, Cyprus, Monaco, Norway, Slovenia, Tanzania, as well as the United States.
Created in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge is a global, multi-generational initiative designed to help address society’s most pressing problems by encouraging the wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.The 14 new signatories announced today are:
- Leonard H. Ainsworth — Australia
- Mohammed Dewji — Tanzania
- Dagmar Dolby — United States
- DONG Fangjun — People’s Republic of China
- Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Røkke — Norway
- Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou — Monaco, Cyprus
- Nick and Leslie Hanauer — United States
- Iza and Samo Login — Slovenia
- Dean and Marianne Metropoulos — United States
- Terry and Susan Ragon — United States
- Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons — United States
- Robert Frederick Smith — United States
- Harry H. Stine — United States
- YOU Zhonghui — People’s Republic of China
Although the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on wealthy individuals, 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.
“Philanthropy is different around the world, but almost every culture has a long-standing tradition of giving back,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Bill and Warren and I are excited to welcome the new, very international group of philanthropists joining the Giving Pledge, and we look forward to learning from their diverse experiences.”
The new additions to the Giving Pledge include entrepreneurs and business leaders from a diverse set of backgrounds and sectors, including agriculture, finance, gaming and entertainment, travel and leisure, and technology. They will use their philanthropic resources to support a range of causes, including climate change, environmental and ecological protection, education, poverty alleviation, and medical and healthcare research.
The Giving Pledge also provides a forum for some of the world’s most influential and engaged philanthropists to discuss challenges and opportunities and how to be effective with their giving. People who have taken the Giving Pledge are united by a shared commitment to learning and giving. The group convened this week at the group’s annual two-day learning conference, which provides them with the opportunity to hear from outside experts and learn from each other about how to give effectively across a range of issues. Topics discussed at this year’s annual gathering included criminal justice reform, early childhood education, refugee aid, public health, and poverty alleviation.About the Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is a global effort to help address society's most pressing problems by encouraging the wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
The 168 pledgers range in age from 31 to 93. Globally, signatories represent 21 countries: Australia, Brazil, China (mainland and Taiwan), Cyprus, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Monaco, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. In the United States, they are from 27 states and the District of Columbia, with the largest contingents from California and New York. Over the long-term, the Giving Pledge hopes to help shift the social norms of philanthropy toward giving more, giving sooner and giving smarter.
Pledge signatories come together throughout the year to discuss challenges, successes and failures, as well as how to be smarter about giving. The Giving Pledge does not involve direct appeals, pooling money, or requirements to support a particular cause or organization.
For the full list of pledgers and personal letters by many of these pledgers outlining their commitment to give, visit www.givingpledge.org.Biographies of New Pledgers
Leonard H. Ainsworth, Australia
Leonard H. Ainsworth is Chairman Emeritus and Executive Director of Ainsworth Game Technology Limited. He is known throughout the world-wide gaming industry as having pioneered most of the major design and technical innovations integrated in gaming machines for over 60 years. He has long been acknowledged as the industry leader throughout Australia and is widely respected for the outstanding contribution he has made to it, especially for the contribution gaming machines have made to the financial success and standing of licensed clubs, and now hotels and casinos worldwide.
He founded the company which became the highly successful 'Aristocrat' and, despite severe international competition, was responsible for building that company up to become the second largest producer of casino style gaming machines and gaming machine systems in the world today and by far the largest in Australia. Len is married to wife Margarete, and they have seven sons, some eighteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Len has a wide range of interests including medicine, science, engineering, automobiles, music, the arts and politics and his philanthropic endeavors align closely with these interests. His hobbies include both downhill and cross country skiing, walking, cycling, aviation and golf.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"It is my great pleasure to provide this Giving Pledge commitment wherein I pledge to give at least 50% of my wealth to charitable causes both during my present life and beyond. As a private person, I prefer to minimise publicity of my philanthropic activities but at the same time realise that setting a positive example is the best way to encourage others to give back."
Mohammed Dewji, Tanzania
Mohammed Dewji is a Tanzanian businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former politician. He currently serves as the President and CEO of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate operating in 11 African countries. Dewji previously served as Member of Parliament for Singida-Urban from 2005 until his retirement in 2015. As the Founder and Trustee of the Mo Dewji Foundation, Mohammed is responsible for shaping and approving the foundation strategies, reviewing results, and setting the overall direction.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"From day one, my parents have been instrumental in instilling the ethos of philanthropy particularly my responsibility as a Muslim to give and care for the less fortunate in our society.
By signing this pledge, I hope to inspire my peers, fellow Africans and citizens of the world to take a close look at the funds they truly need to maintain their families verses their ability to give. In retrospect, many of us have well-above what we need while constantly accruing a list of what we want in this life. We all have a moral obligation as the more affluent in society to give back as best we know how. I’ll leave you with a few words I share with many of my comrades: ‘When God blesses you financially, don't raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of giving."
Dagmar Dolby, United States
Dagmar Dolby was married to Ray Dolby (d. 2013), founder of Dolby Laboratories and inventor of audio systems used in the entertainment industry for the last 50 years.
German born and educated, with a translator’s degree from Heidelberg University, Dagmar came to San Francisco from London in 1976.
After board experiences in the local arts and educational organizations, she became an ardent pro-choice activist by expanding NARAL’s visibility in the S.F. Bay Area and is currently engaged in supporting programs and research in the Brain Health and Alzheimer’s field. The Dolbys’ two sons, Tom and David, are increasing their participation in the family’s philanthropy.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"I am delighted to confirm my plans to devote the major part of my estate to charitable causes. This is a decision my late husband, Ray Dolby, and I made many years ago, and will enable our sons, Tom and David, and their families to carry on these efforts to improve our communities."
DONG Fangjun, People’s Republic of China
Dr. DONG Fangjun was born in Yiyuan, Shandong Province, China in 1972. He is currently a Member of the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and Founder and President of the Beijing Dongfangjun Charity Foundation. He is also Chairman of Dongfang Huiquan Financial Holdings Ltd. He holds an MBA from Peking University, an EMBA from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and a PhD in Economics from Beijing Jiaotong University. His philanthropy focuses on ecological protection, poverty alleviation, education, and aiding disabled people and veterans.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Let's create wealth through the diligent, pioneering, and innovative spirit of entrepreneurs, and share this wealth through the generous, selfless, and dedicated spirit of philanthropists. Let's make philanthropy a value, a faith, a commitment, and a lifestyle."
Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Røkke, Norway
Mr. Røkke is Chairman and majority owner of the Norwegian industrial investment company Aker ASA.
Mr. Røkke launched his business career with the purchase of a fishing vessel in the United States in 1982, and gradually built a leading worldwide fisheries business. His success in this arena enabled him to invest in other businesses, mainly in the United States and Norway. In 1996 his company purchased enough Aker shares to become Aker’s largest shareholder. Since 1841, Aker has driven forward the development of internationally focused, knowledge-based industry in Norway.
Mr. Røkke has been the driving force developing the Aker Group into one of Norway’s largest private employers with today the main activities within the oil and gas, maritime assets, fishery and marine biotechnology sectors. Aker ASA is a public company and owned 68.2% by Mr. Røkke and his family.
Mr. Røkke has four children and is married to Anne Grete Eidsvig.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"As the lucky ones in life, we have been given much, sacrificed little, and gained a lot. It is a true privilege for our family to reconfirm our commitment to give back by joining The Giving Pledge."
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Monaco, and Cyprus
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (born Athens, Greece – 1967) is best known for creating easyJet in 1995 at the age of 28. This pan-European low cost airline, headquartered in London, is now one of the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange and he and his family own about one third of the shares. He also owns the “easy” family of brands which is licenced to carefully selected partners (including the airline) in return for steady income.
Stelios has also created his own philanthropic foundation on which he spends about one third of his time and a portion of his income every year in managing charitable projects mainly in the areas where he has lived and worked - UK, Greece, Cyprus (the birthplace of his parents) and Monaco where he lives.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"My belief is that nobody has a monopoly on good charitable ideas, and the problems in our world will never all go away. So we have to keep helping, within our means, forever..."
Nick and Leslie Hanauer, United States
Nick Hanauer is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and the founder of Civic Ventures, a Seattle-based public policy incubator.
Hanauer was the first non-family investor in Amazon.com, and later founded the digital advertising agency, aQuantive, which sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion.
In recent years, Hanauer has established himself as a civic innovator, public speaker, $15 minimum wage advocate, and fierce critic of America’s growing income inequality.
He co-authored two bestselling books: The True Patriot and Gardens of Democracy; and his policy pieces for outlets like Politico, Bloomberg News, and TED have gone viral, reaching audiences of tens of millions.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"There is no greater privilege than to be fortunate enough to devote the majority of one’s time and resources to helping others—to making our community, and the planet, better than we found it."
Iza and Samo Login, Slovenia
Bringing years of project management, communication and motivational experience, Iza Login’s role as Outfit7’s Deputy CEO was to facilitate business development, design workflow and orchestrate internal and external programs to aid the business.
Prior to founding Outfit7, Iza ran a center for better quality of life, which was preceded by posts at Microsoft and Novartis. Iza holds a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Computer Science.
Samo Login was CEO of Outfit7 Limited – one of the fastest-growing media entertainment companies on the planet. The architect of Outfit7's Talking Tom and Friends franchise, Samo lead the creative and overall strategy for both the company and its products. Prior to founding Outfit7, Samo served as the founding Chief Technology Officer at the popular search engine portal Najdi.si, which was acquired by Telekom Slovenija in 2009. He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of Maribor, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Iza and Samo Login's sons, Janez Nejc Login and France Login, have also joined the pledge of their parents. Janez Nejc Login served as General Manager of the biggest Outfit7’s production site with 200 employees for four years. Despite his young age he hugely contributed with his product management experience and knowledge. France Login took different roles at Outfit7 since he was 16 years old. His latest and most important role was VP of Business Development in China where he was managing partnerships in Outfit7’s biggest market. He is studying Leadership and Management at London Open University.
All four of them are active in Login5 Foundation since the sale of Outfit7 in 2017.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Not only are we pledging to spend the great majority of our wealth on non-profit environmental projects - we're finally fortunate enough to be able to invest our time in these projects too."
Dean and Marianne Metropoulos, United States
Dean and his sons, Evan, 36, and Daren, 33, are involved in private equity with the family firm, Metropoulos & Co.
Metropoulos & Co. has been one of the most notably performing firms in the consumer space and has been involved in transforming and repositioning many companies and their internationally recognized brands including Mumm and Perrier-Jouet champagnes, Ghirardelli, Bumble Bee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hostess, Pinnacle Foods, Premier Foods (UK), and many others.
Marianne has been involved in many charities, including Hole in the Wall camps and the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger.
The family is committed to philanthropy in medical research, education, veterans and the many underprivileged in our global community.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"The true measure of who we are and the ultimate fulfillment we can enjoy is based on how we share our gifts with the multitudes of our fellow human beings who live their lives without hope. Sharing our good fortune with others allows our legacy and purpose to become lasting and meaningful. Unconditional giving of ourselves, and what we have, reflects a nobility of spirit which reaches out and binds all of us."
Terry and Susan Ragon, United States
Phillip T. (Terry) Ragon, CEO, Founder, and Owner, InterSystems Corporation.
Since founding InterSystems in 1978, Mr. Ragon has led the company to worldwide prominence in the database, interoperability, and healthcare application markets.
Mr. Ragon is a Trustee of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where he also served as Honorary Co-Chair of the MGH Campaign. He is on the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. He is also a member of the MIT Corporation, the governing body of MIT, and is Co-Chair of the MIT Campaign.
In 2008, Mr. Ragon helped create the Ragon Institute, a joint research center of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. The vision of the Ragon Institute is to "harness the immune system," and its immediate objective is the creation of a vaccine for HIV.
Susan M. Ragon, Vice President of Finance, Administration, and Recruitment, InterSystems Corporation.
Susan Ragon joined InterSystems in 1985 after holding executive marketing positions in the consumer electronics industry. She has been instrumental in building the company's core infrastructure and has held several executive-level positions, including director of finance, administration, marketing, and documentation.
Susan currently oversees finance, recruitment, and human resources throughout InterSystems’ global network of offices in 24 countries. In addition to her focus on local institutional and individual philanthropy, Susan, along with her husband, Terry, helped found the Ragon Institute which employs a unique interdisciplinary approach in exploring new ways to utilize the human immune system in preventing and curing diseases.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Susan and I often find ourselves wondering, ‘Why were we born with so many advantages in life when others are born with none?’ It is, of course, an accident of birth. Susan and I were born in families of modest means, but we always had enough, we had natural gifts, and we had opportunities. As those advantages have turned into financial success, we’ve increasingly felt a responsibility to help those less fortunate."
Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, United States
Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons have worked together in the financial industry for over twenty years. Nat is Chairman and Laura is General Counsel at Meritage Group, an investment management firm.
Nat and Laura are the co-founders of Sea Change Foundation, a private family foundation currently dedicated to addressing global climate change. Founded in 2006, Sea Change works regionally, nationally and internationally to support and implement public policies and foster investments and practices that will reduce the most substantial sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2009, they co-founded Prelude Ventures, an early-stage cleantech investment group, which focuses on emerging companies that will speed the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Nat holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. Laura holds a BA in Economics and German and an MA in German Literature from UC Berkeley, as well as a JD from Stanford University. Nat and Laura have two children and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Over time we have learned to appreciate the importance of collaboration in philanthropy. Like most other philanthropic areas, climate change and clean energy policy is profoundly challenging on many levels. While there is clear consensus on the need to act, there are so many actions necessary that no one government, charitable organization, or business can solve the problem alone. Given the sheer scope and myriad of approaches necessary to address climate change, there is a great need for groups to work together and to learn from one another."
Robert Frederick Smith, United States
Robert Frederick Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm that focuses exclusively on the enterprise software, data and technology enabled solutions sectors. Vista has over $30Bn in equity capital commitments. Mr. Smith serves as the Chairman of Carnegie Hall, founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, of which he is a graduate. Robert received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University, which honored Mr. Smith's leadership by naming the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2016.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Potential is no guarantee of progress. We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create onramps that empower ALL people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender, or color of skin."
YOU Zhonghui, People’s Republic of China
You Zhonghui, Chairwomen of Shenzhen Seaskyland Investment Holdings Group Ltd. Leading figure in China education examination evaluation industry and self-dependent innovation area; CKGSB Philanthropy Award winner in the year of 2015; Talents big data theory founder and practitioner; Founder of the brand Seaskyland; Chairwomen of Seaskyland Investment Holdings Group; Board director of Talkweb information system Company; Chief Strategy Officer of Talkweb education.
Concurrently being the deputy director of Education Management Informationization Professional Commission of China Education Development Strategy Society; Guest professor of Chongqing University; Member of the Guangdong Committee of CPPCC; Member of the Standing Committee of Shenzhen Committee of CPPCC; Director of Shenzhen Association of Standardization; Vice chairman of Center for China & Globalization; Vice chairman of Shenzhen Innovation CXO club; Standing vice-chairman of Shenzhen enterprise confederation and Shenzhen entrepreneur association; Board members of Shenzhen homocentric club.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Acting Positive makes people gain wisdom and wealth. In their pursuit of career development, the entrepreneur becomes bigger and stronger. Staying Kind, means to treasure life, respect nature, always have goodwill and be ready to help others in need. This makes people mentally healthy and blessed."