A hub for technology, the Silicon Valley region in California has become known as the best destination for venture capitalists. As a result, it is home to a handful of the richest people in the world. With Apple, Facebook, Visa, Oracle, and many more companies building their headquarters in Silicon Valley, 92% of the earners hold the wealth in the region. The growing wealth of moguls led Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett to introduce The Giving Pledge in 2010. The concept of the movement is to invite the billionaires to give away a majority of their wealth as a philanthropic gesture and set a new standard of generosity. While the pledge was initially introduced in the United States, The Giving Pledge saw entrepreneurs joining this movement and a great cause globally.
From Warren Buffett, who plans to give away 99% of his wealth to charity, to Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan, who established a non-profit organization to help support the pledge, many moguls from Silicon Valley have stepped forward to donate most of their fortune. Let’s look at the top entrepreneurs who have pledged to give away their wealth.
9 Michael Bloomberg
As a businessman and a former mayor, Michael Bloomberg knows the power of private donations. As he has signed the Giving Pledge, Bloomberg has made significant donations over the years. More recently, he donated $40 million for COVID-19 relief efforts in Africa in 2020. In addition, as mentioned by NY Post, in 2021, he pledged $750 million to open charter schools in entrenched regions in America over the next five years.
8 Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck)
A week after Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, welcomed their first daughter Max, the couple wrote an open letter to her, detailing that they would give away 99% of their Facebook shares to charity during their lifetime through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. During the announcement, the amount came to $45 billion but has now increased to a whopping $100 billion.
7 MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett
MacKenzie Scott has a $45 billion net worth through her stock in Amazon via her ex-husband and founder, Jeff Bezos. Since their divorce in 2019, Scott and her now-husband Dan Jewett have donated over $12 billion through grants with the Scott R. MacKenzie Foundation, which specializes in human genetic research to find cures for cancer, diabetes, and lung diseases.
6 Bill and Melinda Gates
A post shared by Bill Gates (@thisisbillgates)
A noted philanthropist, Bill Gates has consistently donated to charitable causes since 1994. After stepping down from the CEO position at Microsoft, Bill Gates and his now ex-wife Melinda Gates established the Gates Foundation in 2000 and have donated over $45.5 billion, as noted by USA Today. In 2019, the couple became the seventh most philanthropic people as they donated over $589 million in a single year.
5 Jeffrey Skoll
The first President of eBay, Jeffrey Skoll, got his humble beginnings in Canada before he entered the tech world and founded the Skoll Foundation to support social entrepreneurs. With a net worth of $7 billion, Skoll has donated over $1.2 billion to date, $500 million from his foundation, making him one of the few people slowly hitting their pledge mark.
4 Warren Buffett
In 2006, Warren Buffett announced that he would give 99% of his wealth to charity by the end of his lifetime, and in 2021, he hit the halfway mark with $117 billion remaining. According to Fortune, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has donated 10 million shares to the Gates Foundation, 1 million shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and 350,000 shares to three other foundations totaling $45.5 billion.
3 Jim Simons
The founder of Renaissance Technologies, Jim Simons, was listed in America’s Top 50 givers. He has been donating to causes for over a decade through his company and non-profit organization. In 2015, Simons donated $298 million for education and research in math and science, with an additional $43 million through the family organization for early childhood education.
2 Brian Armstrong
Brian Armstrong made history as the first crypto billionaire who joined the Pledge in 2018 to give away a large amount of his fortune to charitable causes. The CEO of Coinbase, the company is valued at $86 billion, with Armstrong’s fortune cutting close to $2 billion. The investor is expected to pledge more than a billion dollars to be donated during his lifespan.
1 Tim Cook
Despite being the CEO of Apple, one of the largest tech companies in the world, Tim Cook lives a relatively modest life similar to Warren Buffett. In 2015, he joined the Giving Pledge to give away 99% of his earnings from the $1.9 billion fortune, which comes to around $800 million, as reported by Forbes. In addition, he will set aside a small portion of his earnings for his nephew’s college.
Other notable moguls who have pledged their fortunes to charities include David G. Booth, Brian Chesky, Barron Hilton, and David Rockefeller. Along with being a one-time event, the Giving Pledge has enabled moguls to share a commitment with the rest to grow communities and address the pressing issues in the world.
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Sources: NY Post, USA Today, Fortune, Forbes
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