Back in 2010, co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates developed a campaign called “the giving pledge”. The project was meant to encourage rich people from around the world to promise that they will give most of their fortune to various philanthropic causes.
In 2012, 81 billionaires promised to sign the pledge and donate the majority of their wealth, and as of January 1, 2015, the campaign gathered a total number of 128 billionaires.
The pledge is not a legal contract these billionaires must sign, but a moral commitment. The money can be donated during the lifetime of the donor, or after his/her death. The initiative is an excellent way of showing that rich people have generous hearts, too. Many billionaires recognize that they have the ability to make a real difference in the world.
Bill Gates himself already donated $26 billion. He added that his children won’t inherit all his fortune and that most of it will go to charity after his passing. Here are 7 of the most well-known billionaires who have pledged most of their fortune.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg joined “The Giving Pledge” in 2010. The 30-year old internet entrepreneur and computer programmer promised to give away at least half of his money, adding that people wait too long to give back.
He emphasized that there’s no point in waiting to donate money when there are so many who need it now, not later. In 2010, the CEO’s net worth was $12.5 billion (now he’s worth over $33 billion). Together with his beloved wife Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg donated 18 million of Facebook’s shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
At the time, one share was worth $27.71, so 18 million shares meant a little over $498 million. The amount promised by Zuckerberg was the biggest of the year, and it was donated in 2013 when the value of the 18 million shares reached $990 million.
Apart from donating a colossal amount to Bill Gates’s “The Giving Pledge”, Zuckerberg donated another $100 million to the Newark Public Schools in 2013; and in October 2014, he gave another $24 million to combat the Ebola virus disease in West Africa.