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The 50 richest people supporting the giving pledge

  • The 50 richest people supporting the Giving Pledge

    In a world where just eight rich men control as much wealth as the poorest half of the globe’s population, grassroots efforts to end poverty can seem futile. But a group of the world’s wealthiest people is doing just that by using their wealth to do away with some of that disparity. The Giving Pledge is an initiative to inspire “a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy” that was created in August 2010 by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett that urges billionaires to promise the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

    To date, the Giving Pledge has signed on 204 of the world’s wealthiest people from 23 countries. All benefactors are worth at least half a billion dollars and have promised to give at least half of that wealth to causes they support. While signing on requires just a “moral commitment” with no legal contract, social pressure to follow through is high, as pledgers publish a public letter underscoring their philanthropic promises. The recipients of the charity are wide-ranging, from global environmental work to localized education initiatives. Many of the initiatives being undertaken would not be possible were it not for the generosity of the donor.

    Stacker made a list of everyone who signed to donate to the Giving Pledge, cross-listed the names with net worth data from the most recent Forbes 400 report (last updated Oct. 3, 2019), and ranked the top 50 according to their net worth. Where families and couples are concerned, Stacker included the sum net worth of those mentioned. Keep reading to see who the 50 richest people supporting the giving pledge are and how they tend to orient their philanthropic activities and endeavors.

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  • #46. Joe Gebbia (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.2 billion

    Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia wrote he would “aim to build pathways for future creatives and entrepreneurs” in his Giving Pledge letter. A trustee on the board of his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia donated $300,000 to the institution in 2014 to endow a scholarship.

  • #46. Dagmar Dolby (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.2 billion

    Dagmar Dolby is the widow of sound pioneer Ray Dolby, who died in 2013. A longtime philanthropist, Dagmar Dolby promises to give to causes supporting “reproductive rights, stem cell research, and most recently brain health research, with a focus on mood disorders and Alzheimer's disease.”

  • #46. Jack and Laura Dangermond (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.2 billion

    The Dangermonds—who made their fortune through Jack's founding of Esri in 1969, a software for creating digital maps—are involved in several facets of philanthropy, primarily oriented around the environment. One of their primary efforts is STEM education, particularly as it pertains to geography and the environment. Another big focus is purchasing open land for conservation, and a final is an investment in local communities.

  • #46. Brian Chesky (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.2 billion

    Brian Chesky joined the Giving Pledge along with fellow Airbnb co-founders Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia. Chesky wrote in his giving letter that he wanted to show young people that “their dreams are not bounded by what they can see in front of them.” Chesky helped create Airbnb’s disaster response program, providing free shelter for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy and other emergencies.

  • #46. Nathan and Elizabeth Blecharczyk (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.2 billion

    Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and his wife Elizabeth, a neonatologist at Stanford, have contributed to their alma maters (Harvard, Wellesley, and Tufts), St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, and College Track, a nonprofit that supports college-bound students from underserved communities, according to philanthropic information site Glasspockets.

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  • #45. Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg

    - Net worth: $4.3 billion

    Media mogul Barry Diller and his wife fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg are major patrons of the arts, especially in their home of Manhattan. Recently, the philanthropic couple announced a $130 million gift to develop a sprawling futuristic park on the West Side of Manhattan.

  • #43. Henry and Susan Samueli (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.4 billion

    Co-founder of chipmaker Broadcom, Henry Samueli, with his wife Susan, committed to supporting STEM education, alternative medicine, and Jewish culture in their Giving Pledge letter. The couple’s foundation donated $50 million to engineering programs at UCLA and UC Irvine in 2017.

  • #43. Julian H. Robertson, Jr. (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.4 billion

    Hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertson had given more than $300 million to philanthropic causes even before signing the Giving Pledge in 2010. He donates mostly to health, environmental, and educational organizations, including the New York Stem Cell Research Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

  • #41. Tahir (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.5 billion

    Entrepreneur and founder of conglomerate Mayapada Group, Tahir Dato ‘Sri was the first Indonesian signatory to the Giving Pledge. Some of his philanthropy has been directed at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, including an initiative by that organization to draw more leaders in the private sector to donate funds for refugees.

    [Pictured: Mayapada Group] 

  • #41. Ruth and Bill Scott; Walter Scott, Jr. (tie)

    - Net worth: $4.5 billion

    Walter Scott Jr. made his fortune through Berkshire Hathaway Energy, his friend Warren Buffett’s utility subsidiary. Scott has given multiple multi-million dollar gifts to his alma mater, Colorado State University, which renamed its school of engineering to the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.

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