In 2010 Warren Buffett and Bill Gates created the Giving Pledge. The campaign encourages wealthy individuals to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes either during their lifetime or after they die. This post will highlight four individuals who have pledged to give away a significant amount of their wealth.
Paul Allen is the co-founder of Microsoft. In 1988 he and his sister, Jody, founded the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. The foundation has a number of global programs as well as programs that focus on the Pacific Northwest. (Allen was born in Seattle, Washington.) Most of the global initiatives focus on science and technology. In 2014 Allen contributed $100 million to help stop the spread of Ebola. At first, the money was used for supplies, but as the disease spread, Allen teamed with the U.S. Department of State to fund evacuation costs for US doctors working in the affected countries. To learn more about the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, visit the organization’s website.
In addition to being a politician and business leader, Michael Bloomberg is a noted philanthropist. Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on “public health, arts and culture, the environment, education and government innovation” (Philanthropist). Bloomberg has appeared on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s top 50 American philanthropists list on a number of occasions. In 2016 the magazine ranked him third for giving $510 million to various causes.
When it comes to the environment, Bloomberg Philanthropies works to lessen the impact of climate change and promote the use of alternative energy. In 2014, Bloomberg was designated as the first U.N. Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. To learn more about Bloomberg’s current environmental work, visit his website.
Larry Ellison is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world. It’s estimated that Ellison has donated $430 million to various causes (Glasspockets). Ellison created the Lawrence Ellison Foundation in order “to support basic biomedical research, with a focus on understanding how humans and other organisms age, and on defining the fundamental biological mechanisms that prevent age-related diseases and disabilities” (Mission).
The organization mostly focuses on aging, neuroscience, and infectious disease. However, it has also made awards to other areas of scientific research on occasion. Throughout his life, Ellison has also donated money to various universities like Stanford, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Davis.
One of Richard Branson’s initiatives, Virgin Unite, was founded in 2004 “to unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world” (Virgin Unite). Virgin Unite focuses on four different projects: uniting leaders, uniting entrepreneurs, uniting voices, and uniting communities. One of the organization’s projects is the Eve Branson Foundation. It focuses on helping women in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains. The foundation’s goal is to give the women the tools they need to make a living. Take a look at the Virgin Unite website to see all of the projects that Branson’s organization is involved in.
When Branson joined the Giving Pledge, he made a note of saying that “stuff” doesn’t bring people happiness. Most philanthropists would agree with Branson—what really brings happiness is making a positive impact on the world.