Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett speak with journalist Charlie Rose at an event organized by Columbia Business School on January 27, 2017 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

KEY POINTS

  • The Giving Pledge aims to mobilize the world's wealth to address global and societal issues
  • The initiative was founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett
  • Signatories of the pledge come from all ages, from 34 to 98 years old

Founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge aims to mobilize the world's wealth to address global and societal issues through a public, moral commitment. Some of the wealthiest people in the world have pledged to give at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropy, with signatories spanning 28 countries and the age of pledgers ranging from 34 to 98.

These are 25 of the richest people in the world who have pledged to use their wealth for charity:

1. Elon Musk

Elon Musk's SpaceX has donated some 25,000 ground terminals to Ukraine for use of its Starlink satellite internet, according to Musk
AFP

The richest man in the world signed the Giving Pledge back in 2012, with plans to ramp up his giving later in his life. In a 2018 tweet, he said he would sell around $100 million in Tesla stock every few years for charity.

2. Bill Gates

American billionaire Bill Gates is the co-founder of TerraPower
American billionaire Bill Gates is the co-founder of TerraPower POOL via AFP / Evan Vucci

The co-founder of the Giving Pledge, whose wealth mostly comes from Microsoft, pledged that the majority of his fortune would be used to help as many people as possible. Gates has a foundation with his ex-wife Melinda, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was built on the idea that all lives have equal value. Since then, Gates has continued to use his wealth in supporting endeavors that expand the opportunity for the world's poorest, mitigate climate change, tackle Alzheimer's disease and improve education in the United States.

3. Warren Buffett

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett walks through the exhibit hall as shareholders gather to hear from the billionaire investor at Berkshire Hathaway Inc's annual shareholder meeting in Omaha

Buffett pledged more than 99% of his wealth to be used for philanthropic purposes. He said he would "take a pile of Berkshire Hathaway stock certificates" and commit them to charity. By the time he wrote his pledge, he had already distributed 20% of his and his late wife's shares, and he would continue to distribute about 4% of his shares annually to philanthropy.

4. Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison, founder and former CEO of Oracle Inc. watches a training race from a motor boat ahead of the America's Cup World Series sailing competition on the Great Sound in Hamilton, Bermuda, October 16, 2015. Reuters

Ellison plans to give more than 95% of his wealth to charitable causes. Through giving quietly, he has already given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education.

5. Michael R. Bloomberg

In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan
In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan AFP / JEFF KOWALSKY

The former Mayor of New York believes in the help of public-private partnerships in improving public health and safety, fighting poverty, fixing school systems, expanding economic opportunity, promoting the arts and protecting the environment. His foundation has also been active in preventing premature deaths caused by tobacco-related diseases and traffic accidents.

6. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, seen here in 2016, are donating some $400 million to help local US election administrators
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, seen here in 2016, are donating some $400 million to help local US election administrators AFP / John MACDOUGALL

According to the Facebook co-founder and his wife, their work is driven by promoting equality and advancing human progress. They are committed to improving education, science and health not just in their local community in the Bay Area, but also around the world.

7. MacKenzie Scott

MacKenzie Scott (pictured April 2018) said she enlisted a team of advisors that helped identify 384 organizations across the US that support people suffering from the economic toll of the pandemic, to which she donated a total of $4.2 billion
MacKenzie Scott (pictured April 2018) said she enlisted a team of advisors that helped identify 384 organizations across the US that support people suffering from the economic toll of the pandemic, to which she donated a total of $4.2 billion dpa / JORG CARSTENSEN

Jeff Bezos' ex-wife, whose wealth largely comes from the 25% Amazon stake she received after the divorce, has pledged to use half of her wealth to a thoughtful approach to philanthropy, committing to "keep at it until the safe is empty." She has already given to more than 1,200 nonprofits.

8. Jim and Marilyn Simons

Jim Simons
Mathematician Jim Simons (R) attends the 23rd Annual Stars of Stony Brook Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 13, 2022 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The couple and their children have pledged majority of their wealth to philanthropy. According to Forbes, Jim has already given $4 billion to philanthropic causes, including support for autism research. His foundation also funds Math For America.

9. Stephen Schwarzman

Stephen Schwarzman
Stephen Schwarzman, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO, Blackstone, speaks on "The King of Capital" at Center Stage of Web Summit in Altice Arena on November 05, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

In realizing his pledge to help future leaders be better educated on the economic, political and cultural factors contributing to China's global power, Schwarzman founded a highly selective fellowship program at Tsinghua University based in Beijing. Through the Schwarzman Scholars, he aims to "grow a network of young, global influencers" with knowledge and connections they can use to improve the connectivity of China and other countries, "ultimately facilitating a more peaceful and prosperous world for all of us."

Schwarzman also uses his wealth to advance human development through artificial intelligence and other computing technologies, with a focus on ethical and policy considerations.

10. Vladimir Potanin

Vladimir Potanin, co-owner of Norilsk Nickel, attends an agreement signing ceremony with the Krasnoyarsk region's government, in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017.
Vladimir Potanin, co-owner of Norilsk Nickel, attends an agreement signing ceremony with the Krasnoyarsk region's government, in Moscow, Russia December 12, 2017. Reuters / SERGEI KARPUKHIN

With a majority of his wealth pledged to philanthropy, Potanin aims to make the world better for his country, Russia. He has established a foundation that supports education, culture and philanthropy development. His actions are guided not just by using wealth for good but also by protecting his children from the "burden of extreme wealth."

11. Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm of Continental Resources is pictured during a rig tour in the state of Oklahoma, U.S. October 12, 2010. Courtesy of Continental Resources/Handout via
Harold Hamm of Continental Resources is pictured during a rig tour in the state of Oklahoma, U.S. October 12, 2010. Courtesy of Continental Resources/Handout via Reuters / CONTINENTAL RESOURCES

Hamm's diabetes center is one of the avenues from which he enacts his pledge. The center's mission is to inspire young, bright scientists to develop a cure for diabetes, one of the major causes of death in the United States. He also allocates wealth to the Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering, based at the University of North Dakota, to "inspire the next generation of oil and gas leaders" to work on the American Energy Renaissance. Through this, Hamm aims to create millions of American jobs.

12. Ray and Barbara Dalio

Ray Dalio, founder, co-chief investment officer and member of the Bridgewater Board, speaks at the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. October 2, 2017.
Ray Dalio, founder, co-chief investment officer and member of the Bridgewater Board, speaks at the 2017 Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. October 2, 2017. Reuters / Brian Snyder

The couple believes in equal opportunity and has pledged to deliver quality education and lend money to provide opportunities. Barbara's philanthropic efforts include improving inner-city education, while Ray is focused on microfinance and nature conservation and research.

13. Carl Icahn

Billionaire Carl Icahn had launched an unlikely animal welfare crusade, accusing McDonald's of inhumane pig-farming practices and breaking its promises to address the problem
Billionaire Carl Icahn had launched an unlikely animal welfare crusade, accusing McDonald's of inhumane pig-farming practices and breaking its promises to address the problem GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / Neilson Barnard

Icahn's philanthropic efforts started before the Giving Pledge was born. Joining the pledge, he hopes to encourage other wealthy individuals to use their wealth for the common good. His philanthropic efforts center on acquiring control of undervalued or poorly managed companies, unlocking shareholder and bondholder values and improving the competitiveness of American companies. He also hopes to improve America's educational system to maintain the country's position as a world economic leader.

His foundation supports the improvement of child welfare and their likelihood for success through caring for underprivileged children and operating vocational schools.

14. Sam Bankman-Fried

FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried poses for a picture, in an unspecified location, in this undated handout picture, obtained by Reuters on July 5, 2022. FTX/Handout via REUTERS
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried poses for a picture, in an unspecified location, in this undated handout picture, obtained by Reuters on July 5, 2022. FTX/Handout via REUTERS Reuters / FTX

One of the richest people in crypto according to Forbes, Bankman-Fried believes in effective altruism – doing what can be done "for the long run aggregate utility of the world." The self-made billionaire follows the philosophy of "earning to give," donating a portion of his salary to charity even when he worked as an ETFs trader before jumping to crypto trading in 2017.

15. Dan and Jennifer Gilbert

Dan Gilbert
Dan Gilbert Cleveland Cavaliers owner talks during a press conference introducing new head coach John Beilein at Cleveland Clinic Courts on May 21, 2019 in Independence, Ohio. Jason Miller/Getty Images

The owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, part of Dan's philanthropic efforts is to create more jobs in America. He has invested $5.6 billion for the purchase and rehabilitation of buildings in downtown Detroit to create 24,000 jobs from the project.

16. Andrew and Nicola Forrest

Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest, Nicola Forrest
Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest poses with his wife Nicola at Times Square on September 25, 2013 in New York City. Rob Kim/Getty Images

The Forrests, together with their kids, believe in the right of children to proper education. "Education provides the foundation to break the cycle of poverty and lack of freedom," they said on their pledge. "Perhaps even more, it gives parents the exhilaration to realize that there are far greater outcomes available for them and their children than they may have ever dreamt possible." In realizing their pledge, they aim to shine a light on inequality and empower individuals and families suffering from poverty, slavery and unequal opportunity.

17. George B. Kaiser

Ken Levitt, George Kaiser and Steve Jenkins
Ken Levitt, George Kaiser and Steve Jenkins attend the reception for the Bob Dylan Center at OKPOP on May 05, 2022 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lester Cohen/Getty Images for The Bob Dylan Center

Kaiser has pledged to focus on charitable pursuits that provide "the greatest opportunity for self-fulfillment for each child," particularly the disadvantaged. He is involved in initiatives that attempt to reverse the generational cycle of poverty, as well as projects that focus on prenatal and family healthcare, early learning and development for at-risk kids younger than three years old, teen pregnancy prevention, parenting skills development, job and income assistance for families with young children, and programs that provide alternatives to incarceration for mothers who have committed non-violent crimes.

18. David and Barbara Green

David Green, Barbara Green
Hobby Lobby co-founders David Green (L) and Barbara Green (C) leave the U.S. Supreme Court after oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby March 25, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Greens are committed to helping ministry work in the form of contributing to help orphanages in faraway lands, as well as helping ministries in the U.S. David is the CEO of the empire he founded, Holly Lobby, which pays its employers a minimum of $18.50 an hour – above the federal minimum wage.

19. Stephen M. Ross

Stephen M. Ross
Chairman of the Board/Managing General Partner Stephen M. Ross of the Miami Dolphins talks to the media prior to introducing new Head coach Mike McDaniel on February 10, 2022 at the Miami Dolphins Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Ross committed to the Giving Pledge to inspire others to give to charity. He plans to donate a substantial amount of his assets to give back to society through charitable causes, with a focus on education, the arts, healthcare, the development of sustainable cities and the creation of new models of livability, opportunity and business innovation.

20. Jim Pattison

Jim Pattison
The Jim Pattison Group CEO Jim Pattison announces the 2017 Cavalia Odysseo Vancouver tour on November 21, 2016 in Vancouver, Canada. Phillip Chin/Getty Images

Pattison has pledged at least 50% of his wealth to charitable causes that will make significant differences in the future. Some of his philanthropic work includes a $37 million gift to the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan Foundation and a commitment of $56 million to the St. Paul's Foundation for the construction of a new hospital in Vancouver.

21. Ann and John Doerr

John Doerr
John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, on Monday, May 24, 2010. Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

According to Forbes, the couple supports Khan Academy, a free online tutoring site. They also advocate for climate change mitigation, with their foundation supporting the climate change-focused Climate Reality Project.

22. Pierre and Pam Omidyar

Ann Curry, Pierre, Pamela Omidyar, Lawrence Bacow
Ann Curry, Pierre Omidyar, Pamela Omidyar and Lawrence Bacow attend the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy 10th Anniversary Award ceremony at The New York Public Library on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

The Omidyars acknowledge that they have more money than their family would ever need. So instead of holding on to it, they are using their wealth to solve world problems. They focus on improving the lives of millions, investing in for-profit businesses that provide essential products and services to overlooked populations.

23. Brian Chesky

Brian Chesky
Brian Chesky, Cofounder and CEO, Airbnb, speaks onstage during The Fast Company Innovation Festival - Day 2 on September 21, 2022 in New York City. Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Fast Company

The co-founder of Airbnb and the son of two social workers, Chesky pledged to use his wealth to help children dream and realize their full potential. According to Money, Chesky and the two other co-founders of Airbnb plan to donate the majority of their collective fortune, which amounts to almost $10 million.

24. Azim Premji

Azim Premji
Wipro chairman, Azim Premji announces the financial results for the quarter ended 31 December 2007, on the Wipro campus in Bangalore, 18 January 2008. Wipro Limited, India's third-largest software maker, posted a lower-than-expected third-quarter net profit as an appreciating rupee and a higher wage bill offset business growth. DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images

Premji believes that education is the most important social institution that empowers individuals to shape society for the better. He has pledged is to focus on improving the public education system in India, starting with primary schools, so that they may best serve the disadvantaged and deprived. He has also helped create institutions at the district and state levels for the capacity development of teachers and other stakeholders in the public education system. He also aims to address academic and managerial issues related to education.

25. Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith
Robert F. Smith receives and Honorary Degree during the Morehouse College 135th Commencement at Morehouse College on May 19, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Smith is committed to investing half of his net worth during his lifetime in causes that support equal opportunity for African Americans. He also pledges to support causes that cultivate ecological protection, to preserve a livable planet for future generations.