How do I develop a donation plan

Routes to finance

Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett are Gilded Age colleagues Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller from the 21st century.

Gates and Buffett may not be exactly the "robber barons" of the era, but they went further than those old tycoons by not only spending money on charity, but by forming the largest billionaires' club in history.

The Giving Pledge, the most gilded of the circles, was founded in 2010 to encourage the wealthiest wealthy to donate most of their fortunes to philanthropic causes, either before they die or immediately after.

This circle has two requirements: Members must have a billion dollars and be willing to give the most of it.

Gates and Buffett, longtime partners in charitable giving, started out with American billionaires but have since expanded around the world. Today 158 billionaires signed the Giving Pledge for a net worth of $ 786 billion. Plus, these pledgers come from all ages from their 30s to centenarians.

Although the Giving Pledge has gone global with members from 20 countries, most of the tycoons who signed up were born and raised in America. They range from Paul G. Allen (co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates) to Jean and Steve Case (of AOL and Time Warner fame) to Michael R. Bloomberg (NYC mayor and media tycoon) to Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook). The names form a who's who list with historical proportions.

The Giving Pledge website has a brief bio and letter that each member wrote when they joined this elite club.

The letters set out the general goals and philosophies of charitable giving by each philanthropist.

The Giving Pledge is not a legal contract, but a simple "moral" agreement that each member wants to pursue in their commitment to donate most of their wealth to charity.

Each Giving Pledge member develops an individual donation plan.

The group does not make joint decisions. However, they do come together every few years to educate themselves on global social issues and to educate themselves on how to give and measure success more effectively.

Criticism of the promise of the award

The promise of award has received its criticism. Some fear that all of this potential donation is just a significant tax break. Others say that since some of the money goes only to family foundations, it will not be spent for many years, thus failing to fund the most pressing needs of society.

Then there is the fear that so much private money is being used to influence public policy, not always in a good way.

This criticism did not discourage Bill and Melinda Gates or Warren Buffett. They firmly believe that their billions can do good around the world and also set an example for others to give generously. Responding to an article in the NY Times, Bill Gates said of his hopes for the Giving Pledge:

"We'll never be able to measure how much the group makes people give more or do better, but I think the effects are likely to be very positive."

Effective donation and measurable results have also been a mantra of the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation from its inception, and it is not surprising that many in this group of philanthropists would embrace this intention.

What Gates and Buffet envisioned when Buffett made his historic contribution to the Gates Foundation a few years ago was made clear in the 2017 letter Bill and Melinda sent to Buffet explaining what had been achieved with that money. The letter is full of data, statistics, and evidence that progress has been made on many fronts.

Many of the younger billionaires also come from the ranks of the tech industry and share the same entrepreneurial spirit as their companies. Tech Titans who have joined the Giving Pledge are Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Larry Page of Google and Tesla CEO Elan Musk.

Will this group change the world and solve some of our greatest social challenges? We will have to wait to make final judgments.

Recommended reading:

The promise of current profiles

Charlie Rose Interview with Gates and Buffett, 2013

Eye on the Promise, Glass Bags, the Foundation Center 2017 letter to Warren Buffett from Bill and Melinda Gates