Mark Zuckerberg makes the “Giving Pledge” to donate half of his wealth to charity

Today Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to donate half of his fortune to charity.  While this is not Zuckerberg’s first foray in to philanthropic giving, having recently donated 100 million to Newark Public Schools, the worlds youngest billionaire will now join the likes of Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomburg, and Bill Gates, among others, who have all literally and legally pledged to donate a minimum of 50% of their net worth to charity during their life time or at death as part of the “Giving Pledge” campaign.

What is the Giving Pledge Campaign?

In  May 2009, a press leak announced that two of the richest Americans, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, had recently organized and presided over a confidential dinner meeting for billionaires.  The event was hosted by David Rockefeller and attended by Americas richest, including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomburg and TV personality Oprah Winfrey; its subject? No one really knew.

While the initial plan seemed to involve side stepping the media (at least at that point), speculation soon sparked controversy and Bill Gates was urged to make a formal statement about the dinner.  As it turned out, the dinner wasn’t about world domination…it was a simple discussion about philanthropy.  What has since come out of that simple discussion, however,  is a new campaign, fronted by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet, that has the potential to dramatically shift patterns in American philanthropic giving, and potentially patterns abroad as well: The Giving Pledge.  

Since last year, the Billionaire trio has urged the worlds richest (starting  with the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans) to legally commit a pledge of at least 50% of their net worth to charity during their life time or at death.  In less than a year, the results have been staggering: with today’s addition of Mark Zuckerberg (estimated worth of 6.9 billion) 57 billionaires have made the Giving Pledge.

“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done? 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,” said Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement.

For more information on the Giving Pledge, or to check out the full list of current pledges visit: The Giving Pledge

Check out my article on Jumo, to see how Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is helping to create social change!

Photocredit: Charis Tsevis

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Categories: Not-for-Profits and Business, Technology

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