SEATTLE – June 2, 2023 – The Giving Pledge, a community of global philanthropists, celebrated its 13th annual gathering this week, in which attendees shared ideas on how to improve the effectiveness and impact of their philanthropic giving.
Founded in 2010 by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates, the Giving Pledge is a global commitment by some of the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.
“As philanthropists, it is critical that we learn both from our successes and our setbacks, allow our strategies to evolve as necessary, and above all, develop solutions with partners instead of for them,” said Melinda French Gates, who delivered opening remarks at the event. “The Giving Pledge annual gathering pushes us to ask hard questions so that we can live up to our intentions and give in ways that are truly transformational.”
With 241 philanthropists from 29 countries, the Giving Pledge aims to catalyze a movement that will help shift the norms around giving among the ultra-wealthy on a global scale – including encouraging people to give more, establish their giving plans sooner, and give with greater impact.
“For over a decade, the Giving Pledge has inspired its signatories to be better, bolder givers,” said Bill Gates. “I’m thrilled more people are continuing to get involved in the Giving Pledge and putting their energy and resources into helping others.”
Since the last annual gathering in June 2022, the Giving Pledge has welcomed:
- Ravenel B. Curry III (United States)
- Benoit Dageville and Marie-Florence Dageville (France, United States)
- Nikhil Kamath (India)
- Michael Krasny (United States)
- Tom and Theresa Preston-Werner (United States)
- Dennis Troper and Susan Wojcicki (United States)
- Andrew Wilkinson and Zoe Peterson (Canada)
Many of the new additions to the Giving Pledge are already actively engaged in philanthropy, from building innovative solutions to address climate change, to encouraging community engagement, defending those most at risk in society, and supporting lifesaving medical research.
During this week’s meeting, international experts shared the work being done to address some of the critical needs facing society, such as supporting local journalism; building coalitions of governments, businesses, and communities across Africa to revitalize ecosystems and improve resilience in the face of climate change; and strengthening reproductive care to ensure a future where patient-centered contraceptive care is an integral part of primary care, for all people.
Additionally, Pledgers shared insights from their own philanthropic journeys, discussed the importance of collaborating with others on philanthropy, and explored ways to build trust with grantee organizations.
Biographies of New Pledgers
Ravenel B. Curry III
Ravenel grew up in a small textile town in South Carolina, where he was the manager of the high school football team. Working under a coach who had the second-best winning record in the country taught him the importance of discipline and culture. Ravenel graduated from Furman University, served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and received his M.B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Ravenel is a founder of Eagle Capital Management, an investment management firm based in New York City, that he started 35 years ago with his late wife Beth. He serves as a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the New-York Historical Society, and the Duke Endowment. He is the former Chair of the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority and is an emeritus Trustee of Success Academy, the New York Hall of Science, and Furman University. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
“Solving problems at their root rather than treating their symptoms is paramount.”
Benoit Dageville and Marie-Florence Dageville, France and United States
Benoit Dageville is a French entrepreneur and technology executive, who is best known as one of the co-founders of Snowflake Inc., a cloud-based data management company. As the President of Product and Co-founder at Snowflake, he has been instrumental in shaping the company's product strategy and technological advancements. Benoit holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Before co-founding Snowflake, he gained extensive experience in the technology industry, working at companies like Oracle Corporation.
Marie Florence Dageville is a citizen of three countries, a speaker of four languages, and not one to stay put! She has held too many positions to list, but currently spends much of her time running The Patchwork Collective (TPC), where she is a co-founder. TPC is a family philanthropic effort that funds diverse, bold, community-driven organizations and leaders across social equity, global health, and climate justice. TPC’s mission is to shift agency and power back to local communities by supporting grassroots organizations and leaders who are proximate to the populations they serve. Marie is additionally the founder of Dragonfly Community Arts, which provides free arts education and programming to underrepresented voices by partnering with artists and art-focused nonprofits. Prior to founding The Patchwork Collective and Dragonfly Community Arts, Marie worked as a hospice nurse helping care for under-resourced communities across San Francisco.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
“We feel a responsibility to give—and to give with urgency.”
Nikhil Kamath, India
I have spent close to two decades in the trading and investment world, having started working full-time at the age of 17. My experience is largely around the stock markets, as I have spent the last 18-19 years in this domain. My proficiency today is mostly in investing, and I spend most of my time looking at investing in both the public and private markets. Along the way, I have founded companies such as Zerodha, a leading broking firm in 2010, as well as other companies including Gruhas for private investments, True Beacon, a hedge fund that manages wealth for ultra HNIs in India, Rainmatter, a fintech incubator, and the Rainmatter Foundation, which supports climate-related non-profits.Quote on the Giving Pledge:
“As a young philanthropist, I am writing to express my gratitude whilst joining the Giving Pledge. Despite my age, I am committed to positively impacting the world and believe that the foundation's mission of creating a more equitable society aligns with my values and aspirations.”
Michael Krasny, United States
Michael Krasny is the Founder and former CEO of CDW Corporation, a direct marketer of computers and IT products. The company was founded in 1984 and sold in 2007. Michael founded the Circle of Service Foundation, a private foundation that supports organizations focused on community services, education of the underserved population, Jewish communities, medical research, and environmental causes.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
“There are so many serious issues in today’s world to address. In a world so divided and polarized, it is my great honor to participate in the Giving Pledge. It is refreshing to see many with different points of view come together to repair the world and commit to future generations and philanthropy.”
Dennis Troper and Susan Wojcicki, United States
Susan Wojcicki served as CEO of YouTube, a digital video platform subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., from 2014 until February 2023. She joined Google as its Marketing Manager in 1999, and, after serving in various positions in marketing and product development, Ms. Wojcicki served as Google’s SVP of Advertising & Commerce from April 2011 to January 2014. Prior to Google, she worked at Intel Corporation and served as a management consultant at consulting firms Bain & Company and R.B. Webber & Company. Susan has a Master of Business Administration from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, studied applied economics and earned an M.S. in Applied Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned her B.A. in History and Literature from Harvard University.
Dennis Troper is a Director of Product Management at Google and has worked on several product areas including Wear OS, AdWords, G Suite and Google Fiber. Dennis attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his B.A. in Economics and the University of California, at Santa Cruz where he earned his M.S. in Applied Economics. They have five children and live in California.
Tom and Theresa Preston-Werner, United States
Tom Preston-Werner is an inventor, developer, founder, and philanthropist. He co-founded Preston-Werner Ventures, a venture capital firm seeking to create and fund projects that focus on open source software, developer tools, climate tech, and AI, and 128 Collective, a progressive climate think tank working on the just transition to 1.5 degrees. Prior to this, Tom co-founded and served as the CEO of the software development platform GitHub and the language learning platform Chatterbug. Tom now sits on the board of several companies including Gitpod, Netlify, Mote Hydrogen, and Hack Club.
Theresa Preston-Werner (she/her) wears many hats. Anthropologist. Entrepreneur. Investor. Philanthropist. She has spent the past two decades working to understand global poverty and injustice and to support efforts on the ground aimed at transforming political, economic, and social systems in order to better the lives of individuals. Theresa received her BA in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Scripps College and her PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University. In the U.S. and abroad, Theresa has worked with, advised, and founded various non-profit and for-profit organizations in fields ranging from girls and education to women and family planning to youth and technology to donor organizing in philanthropy. She currently leads 128 Collective, a progressive think tank supporting a climate-safe world for everyone. This work brings climate-curious donors together to co-fund ambitious science-driven projects focused on shifting power relations and fueled by movements of intersectional actors who have the most to gain from a just transition.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
“We use our wealth to drive positive change in the world, building projects that need to exist, because they will ensure a safe, habitable future for everyone and because they will bring us all a little bit more joy.”
Andrew Wilkinson and Zoe Peterson, Canada
Andrew Wilkinson is the founder of Tiny (www.tiny.com), a Canadian holding company that owns over 30 businesses ranging from Dribbble, a social network for designers, to the AeroPress coffee maker company. Using a value oriented approach, Tiny focuses on buying businesses from founders and holding them for the long-term. Andrew successfully bootstrapped the business from zero to just under a billion dollars in value and still holds majority ownership. He has committed to give away at least half of his fortune via his foundation, Tiny Foundation (www.tiny.foundation), which is primarily focused on child welfare, investigative journalism, social justice, and medical research. He lives in Victoria, Canada, and has two young boys.Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
“The opportunity we now have, to support those who have not been so fortunate, is one we find impossible to ignore.”
About the Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is a global, multi-generational commitment by some of 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 public, moral commitment to give the majority 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 and impact of their philanthropic giving.
The 241 Pledgers range in age from 36 to 100. Globally, signatories represent 29 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cyprus, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, the 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. Signatories of the Giving Pledge pursue their philanthropy independently but come together frequently to exchange ideas and learn.
For the full list of Pledgers and their personal letters stating their commitment to give, visit www.GivingPledge.org.