Four years ago, billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates conceived the Giving Pledge, a plan to encourage philanthropy among the mega-wealthy. With members from 12 countries and 25 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, those embracing the Giving Pledge have rapidly grown in numbers and influence since its inception in 2010.
Membership in this exclusive club is open to individuals and families who are billionaires or would be billionaires were it not for their philanthropy. The number of billionaires who have agreed to donate at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, either during life or in their wills, has grown to over 120 individuals ranging in age from 27 to 98.
While not legally binding, the Giving Pledge serves to encourage philanthropy by example. Among this elite group:
- Paul C. Allen, Microsoft
- Sara Blakely, Spanx
- Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg, L.P.
- Richard and Joan Branson, Virgin Group
- Larry Ellison, Oracle
- Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin, Netflix
- Peter B. Lewis, Progressive Insurance
- Elon Musk, PayPal
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook