The Giving Pledge is a movement that was started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010. The aim of this movement is to ask the richest people in the world to give half of their wealth to charity. The former CEO of GoDaddy, Bob Parsons philanthropic efforts now include joining this group.
By 2012, 80 billionaires had joined the pledge and today there are 127 individuals or couples who have signed the pledge. Over the course of several years, Gates and Buffett had organized dinners where they met with possible eligible pledgees. The idea is spreading to the international scene with Buffett meeting donors in India and China with the aim of encouraging charity internationally. The Giving Pledge was inspired from the efforts of many Americans who give generously to improve the living conditions of those less fortunate. The donations go towards education, scientific research into diseases, food programs and other social services.
The Giving Pledge process starts with a public statement from a person who decides to make the pledge along with an explanation about their decision to pledge. There are many reasons people decide to pledge. The hope is that if people come forward to give a large portion of their wealth, it will inspire others to give also. Donors will meet each year to share their ideas about the purpose of giving and, for those who are the most committed to giving, how to do it in the best possible way.
Those who have pledged will give their money to causes or charitable organizations either before or after their death. No specific foundation or organization is represented, and the pledge does not solicit support for any one cause. The pledge encourages the signatories to give half of their wealth to charity in their unique way, but many individuals and couples have pledged to give more. It is a moral commitment not a legal contract.
When one couple joined the Giving Pledge, they stated that they have always believed that children everywhere have the right to food, medical care, education and a stress-free, loving upbringing. Many children, however, regardless of their potential, simply do not have a fair opportunity to fulfill the American Dream of prosperity and productivity.
Another couple stated that their greatest accomplishment will not be the businesses that made them billionaires, but the help they provided to others and the causes that bettered the lives of people around the world. Several stated that when they make charitable gifts they feel even richer for having had the opportunity to give.
Many signatories are from other countries and have worked and settled in the United States. They believe they have prospered because of the opportunities available in the U.S. and want to give back to the communities that helped them get where they are today.
The Giving Pledge concentrates on billionaires with the hope that all people, regardless of financial means, will be encouraged to give generously. Everyone can give something because there is always someone else who has nothing.