SEATTLE — Dec. 8, 2010 — Seventeen more of America's wealthiest families have committed to returning the majority of their wealth to charitable causes by taking the Giving Pledge. The announcement of a second group of pledgers follows news in August of this year when 40 families took the pledge, a longterm charitable project launched by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.
"People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?" said Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder, CEO and president of Facebook. "With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts."
"I'm delighted to welcome these 17 families into the Giving Pledge community," said Warren Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. "In just a few short months we've made good progress. The Giving Pledge has re-energized people thinking about philanthropy and doing things in philanthropy and I look forward to many more conversations with families who are truly fortunate, and whose generosity can and will change lives."
Announced in June, the Giving Pledge now includes 57 families from across the United States. Additionally, both Buffett and the Gateses have begun conversations with billionaires from other countries to learn about their philanthropy efforts and what has worked in their countries.
"The Giving Pledge is about changing the culture of giving," said Peter Singer, professor of bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and author of "The Life You Can Save." "Research shows that when people know that others are giving, they are themselves more likely to give. So publicly pledging to give will encourage others to give. This holds true for billionaires and for those of us who aren't anywhere near that level of wealth. We can all make a difference, and play our part in making the world a better place."
A full list of those taking the pledge and personal letters by many of these pledgers outlining their commitment to give is available online at www.givingpledge.org.
The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society's most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest American families and individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract, and it does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. While it is specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving, the idea takes its inspiration from other efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds.December 2010 Pledge Signatories (by State):
||Oklahoma||David and Barbara Green|
|Illinois||Joe and Rika Mansueto||South Dakota||Denny Sanford|
||Virginia||Jean and Steve Case|
"Everyone is dealt a group of cards at birth. With them come possibilities and responsibilities. What one does with them is up to each one of us, and the sum of those choices, constitute our lives. I have been blessed with the chance to build the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust."
Steve and Jean Case
"We share the view that those to whom much is given, much is expected. We realize we have been given a unique platform and opportunity, and we are committed to doing the best we can with it…We also look forward to working with the dozens of others who have made the Giving Pledge commitment to share lessons, perspectives and best practices."
Lee and Toby Cooperman
"[We] feel it is our moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American Dream by sharing our financial success…In the 1930's, Sir Winston Churchill observed that "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."…It is in this spirit that we enthusiastically agree to take the Giving Pledge."
David and Barbara Green
"Like my parents and their parents before them, you don't have to be wealthy to give. You can give your time, your talents and your passion. We congratulate those who have taken on this wonderful pledge."
"I wish to make the world a better place by advancing solutions to medical and environmental issues through investments in and donations to science."
"Until Bill, Melinda and Warren started this project, I never considered going public with my intentions. However, I certainly see the value of a project that encourages wealthy individuals to step forward and commit to use their wealth for the common good. I hope that by adding my voice with those who are supporting this project, we will all encourage others to participate."
"My thinking is rather simple: I learned as a young boy that sharing with others is the right thing to do, a lesson I observed from my father's willingness to share even our meager means with those less fortunate. Ever since, it has never been difficult for me to continue to do the right thing."
Duncan and Nancy MacMillan
"We very much believe that the accumulation of wealth gets us nowhere. Money has the most value when it's used for others and the greater good, for sustaining and enriching our world. In our minds, foundational areas like education and health are the most critical."
George P. Mitchell
"Throughout my life I've seen firsthand how even a little financial assistance could mean a chance for struggling students, dedicated scientists, and families to reach their goals."