Billionaires from around the world have taken up a charitable giving challenge launched by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in 2010, extending membership in The Giving Pledge beyond U.S. borders for the first time.
A total of 105 billionaire families from nine countries have joined The Giving Pledge, an effort to increase charitable giving and promote the effectiveness of giving strategies, the initiative announced this week.
“There are amazing examples of giving happening around the world – and not just among the wealthy – that we can learn from,” Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement. “I am excited about the conversations and ideas that will happen thanks to this impressive group of international philanthropists."
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The first non-U.S. billionaires to join The Giving Pledge include Britains Richard and Joan Branson, John Caudwell, Christopher Hohn, Mo Ibrahim and David Sainsbury. Completing the list are Andrew and Nicola Forrest, of Australia, Hasso Plattner, of Germany, Azim Premji, of India, Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, of Malaysia, Vladimir Potanin, of Russia, Patrice and Precious Motsepe, of South Africa, and Victor Pinchuk, of the Ukraine.
“’Stuff’ really is not what brings happiness,” Richard Branson, founder and chairman of Virgin Group, said in his pledge letter. “Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters.”
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The new international members of The Giving Pledge join such American billionaires as Ted Turner, Mark Zuckerberg, George Lucas, Carl Icahn and Larry Ellison. According to Gates, “The Giving Pledge brings people together to exchange ideas about how to be as effective as possible and smarter in our giving.” Pledge signatories meet regularly to discuss the challenges, success and failures of their charitable giving efforts, and to create strategies for optimizing the impact of their philanthropic efforts.
The spirit of charitable giving runs strong among Millionaires as well as billionaires, according to research from Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. Millionaires with a net worth exceeding $25 million are more likely to make large donations than to spend on jewelry, clothing, cars and other consumers items, according to our recent published report, $25 Million Plus Investor 2012. One-in-five gave away more than $100,000 in the last 12 months, spending more on charitable giving than any consumer category.