In 2010, forty of the wealthiest individuals in America decided to join together to commit the majority of their wealth toward addressing the most pressing issues facing society. Led by founders Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates, the Giving Pledge has quickly turned into an international problem-solving organization with deep roots and an ear for social justice.
Ostensibly a simple concept, the Giving Pledge invites billionaires to publicly commit their wealth toward philanthropy within their lifetime or through their wills.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at a few of the biggest names in the Giving Pledge as well as how they have chosen to dedicate their resources.
Yuri Milner & Julia Milner
Yuri Milner and Julia Milner are two of the biggest names in the tech sphere at present, at least concerning international philanthropy. Using their wealth, Yuri Milner and his foundation are working in collaboration with several leading tech companies to support civilians fleeing the war in Ukraine, pledging $100 million to relief efforts.
Inspired by the work of Bill and Melinda Gates, Yuri and Julia Milner have agreed to pledge their wealth through the Giving Pledge. And inspired by scientists like Einstein and Galileo, Yuri Milner hopes to continue giving to the thinkers and scientists of tomorrow as they solve problems that seem impossible to overcome at present. This isn’t a new effort by Milner, though his collaboration contribution to refugee relief is relatively recent. Since 2012, Milner has been giving out prizes and contributions through his foundation.
Yuri Milner says, “In my opinion, scientific brilliance is currently under-capitalized.”
With an estimated net worth of over $2.2 billion, Paul E. Singer understands how his finances can have an impact on the world. Singer said in his Giving Pledge interview, “By sparking conversations about giving, the pledge may foster a better understanding of the unique role that private philanthropy can and should play in solving the world’s most difficult moral and economic challenges.”
A prolific investor, Singer has turned his attention toward creating collective action against larger problems. Singer also hopes that the Giving Pledge can help to inspire and empower others to give and create change through urgent material needs as well as through game-changing ideas.
Mala Gaonkar is a prolific businesswoman as well as the co-portfolio manager of Lone Pine Capital, an investment firm. Originally cutting her teeth at Harvard before gaining her MBA from Harvard Business School, Gaonkar has turned into one of the most prolific philanthropists in her sector. Gaonkar understands her wealth of ideas and monetary value and understands that giving back is merely a part of life.
Gaonkar says, “Giving money away is often termed generous, but if being generous means sacrificing a great deal, then I do not qualify.”
Gaonkar’s decision to join the Giving Pledge coincided with her idea that society should be built around gifts of talent, family, and community rather than those ruled by finances. Gaonkar says in her Giving Pledge statement, “It is in this spirit, where justice is based directly on the intrinsic and equal value of other people’s lives, that I both happily and humbly join the Giving Pledge.”
Anil Agarwal is the founder and chairman of Vedanta Resources Limited. A mining and metals magnate, Agarwal turned his small scrapping business into what has now become known as Vedanta, headquartered in London.
As a global investor and a financial player, Agarwal understands how important it is to help one another at every step of the journey. Focusing on giving back to places in need, Agarwal wants to help every child enjoy healthy development and nutritional standards so that they can reach their full potential irrespective of their background.