Entrepreneurs

These 14 billionaires just promised to give away more than half of their money like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates
Photo by CNBC
Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates

Fourteen billionaires announced they have signed the Giving Pledge, formally joining the 154 other billionaires who have promised to give away at least half of their vast wealth to philanthropic causes.

Started in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates, worth $88.5 billion, and Warren Buffett, worth $74.2 billion, the Giving Pledge is a commitment by wealthy individuals and families to give away more than half of their wealth to causes including including poverty alleviation, refugee aid, disaster relief, global health, education, women and girls' empowerment, medical research, arts and culture, criminal justice reform and environmental sustainability.

Signatories of the Giving Pledge must be billionaires, if not for the money they are giving away. The goal of making a public pledge is to encourage others to consider philanthropy, too, even if they aren't billionaires.

Here's the newest class of Giving Pledge signatories, their countries of origin, their net worths (when publicly available) and lines from their public pledge letters indicating their reasons for donating.

1. Leonard H. Ainsworth
Australia
Chairman Emeritus and Executive Director of Ainsworth Game Technology Limited, pioneer in the gaming industry for more than 60 years
Net worth: $1.18 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"It is my great pleasure to provide this Giving Pledge commitment wherein I pledge to give at least 50% of my wealth to charitable causes both during my present life and beyond. As a private person, I prefer to minimize publicity of my philanthropic activities but at the same time realize that setting a positive example is the best way to encourage others to give back."

2. Mohammed Dewji
Tanzania
President and CEO of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate operating in 11 African countries, former politician
Net worth: $1.39 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"From day one, my parents have been instrumental in instilling the ethos of philanthropy, particularly my responsibility as a Muslim to give and care for the less fortunate in our society.

"By signing this pledge, I hope to inspire my peers, fellow Africans and citizens of the world to take a close look at the funds they truly need to maintain their families verses their ability to give. In retrospect, many of us have well-above what we need while constantly accruing a list of what we want in this life. We all have a moral obligation as the more affluent in society to give back as best we know how. I'll leave you with a few words I share with many of my comrades: 'When God blesses you financially, don't raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of giving.'"

"We all have a moral obligation as the more affluent in society to give back as best we know how." -Mohammed Dewji, President and CEO of MeTL Group

3. Dagmar Dolby
United States
Widow of Ray Dolby, the founder of Dolby Laboratories. He invented audio systems used in the entertainment industry for 50 years
Net worth: $3.6 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"I am delighted to confirm my plans to devote the major part of my estate to charitable causes. This is a decision my late husband, Ray Dolby, and I made many years ago, and will enable our sons, Tom and David, and their families to carry on these efforts to improve our communities."

4. DONG Fangjun
People's Republic of China
Member of the Standing Committee of the Shandong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Chairman of Dongfang Huiquan Financial Holdings Ltd.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Let's create wealth through the diligent, pioneering and innovative spirit of entrepreneurs, and share this wealth through the generous, selfless and dedicated spirit of philanthropists. Let's make philanthropy a value, a faith, a commitment and a lifestyle."

5. Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Røkke
Norway
Net worth: $2.6 billion
Røkke started his career building a fishery business and is now chairman and majority owner of the Norwegian company Aker ASA, which is an industrial company working in oil and gas, maritime assets, fishery and marine biotechnology sectors. It is one of the largest private employers in Norway.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"As the lucky ones in life, we have been given much, sacrificed little and gained a lot. It is a true privilege for our family to reconfirm our commitment to give back by joining The Giving Pledge."

"As the lucky ones in life, we have been given much, sacrificed little, and gained a lot." -Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Røkke, Giving Pledge signatories

6. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Monaco and Cyprus
Launched economy airline easyJet in 1995 at the age of 28
Net worth: $1.31 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"My belief is that nobody has a monopoly on good charitable ideas, and the problems in our world will never all go away. So we have to keep helping, within our means, forever..."

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are friends and leading voices promoting philanthropy.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are friends and leading voices promoting philanthropy.

7. Nick and Leslie Hanauer
United States
Nick Hanauer is a venture capitalist, the founder of Seattle-based public policy incubator Civic Ventures, founder of the digital advertising agency aQuantive, which Microsoft bought for $6.4 billion, and an author. He was the first non-family investor in Amazon.com.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"There is no greater privilege than to be fortunate enough to devote the majority of one's time and resources to helping others — to making our community, and the planet, better than we found it."

8. Iza and Samo Login
Slovenia
Iza and Samo Login founded and held executive roles at Outfit7, a rapidly growing media and entertainment company best known for the Talking Tom and Friends franchise. They sold Outfit7 in 2017.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Not only are we pledging to spend the great majority of our wealth on non-profit environmental projects — we're finally fortunate enough to be able to invest our time in these projects too."

"Unconditional giving of ourselves, and what we have, reflects a nobility of spirit which reaches out and binds all of us." -Dean and Marianne Metropoulos, owners of Metropoulos & Co.

9. Dean and Marianne Metropoulos
United States
Dean Metropoulos made his wealth in the family private equity firm, Metropoulos & Co., which has turned around the business behind internationally recognized brands including Mumm and Perrier-Jouet champagnes, Ghirardelli, Bumble Bee, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Hostess, Pinnacle Foods, Premier Foods (UK).
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"The true measure of who we are and the ultimate fulfillment we can enjoy is based on how we share our gifts with the multitudes of our fellow human beings who live their lives without hope. Sharing our good fortune with others allows our legacy and purpose to become lasting and meaningful. Unconditional giving of ourselves, and what we have, reflects a nobility of spirit which reaches out and binds all of us."

10. Terry and Susan Ragon
United States
Phillip T. (Terry) Ragon is the founder and CEO of InterSystems Corporation, a leader in healthcare database technology. Susan M. Ragon is an executive at InterSystems overseeing finance, administration and recruitment.
Net worth: $2.2 billion
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Susan and I often find ourselves wondering, 'Why were we born with so many advantages in life when others are born with none?' It is, of course, an accident of birth. Susan and I were born in families of modest means, but we always had enough, we had natural gifts and we had opportunities. As those advantages have turned into financial success, we've increasingly felt a responsibility to help those less fortunate."

11. Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons
United States
Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons are both leading executives at Meritage Group, an investment management firm. They are also co-founders of Sea Change Foundation, a private family foundation dedicated to addressing the serious threats posed by global climate change.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Over time we have learned to appreciate the importance of collaboration in philanthropy. Like most other philanthropic areas, climate change and clean energy policy is profoundly challenging on many levels. While there is clear consensus on the need to act, there are so many actions necessary that no one government, charitable organization, or business can solve the problem alone. Given the sheer scope and myriad of approaches necessary to address climate change, there is a great need for groups to work together and to learn from one another."

12. Robert Frederick Smith
United States
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm that focuses on enterprise software, data and technology
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Potential is no guarantee of progress. We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create on ramps that empower ALL people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender or color of skin."

"We will only grasp the staggering potential of our time if we create on ramps that empower all people to participate, regardless of background, country of origin, religious practice, gender or color of skin." -Robert Frederick Smith, Founder of Vista Equity Partners

13. Harry H. Stine
United States
Iowa farmer turned seed innovator and entrepreneur, CEO of Stine Seed Company
Net worth: $3.4 billion
Pledge letter not available as of publish time.

14. YOU Zhonghui
People's Republic of China
Chairwoman of Shenzhen Seaskyland Investment Holdings Group Ltd.
Excerpt from Giving Pledge letter:
"Acting positive makes people gain wisdom and wealth. In their pursuit of career development, the entrepreneur becomes bigger and stronger. Staying kind, means to treasure life, respect nature, always have goodwill and be ready to help others in need. This makes people mentally healthy and blessed."

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