The Giving Pledge is an organization founded by Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates in 2010. Its purpose is to encourage the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate large sums of money to the causes they find most worthy. And despite its stunning success, unless you’re a millionaire yourself, you may never have heard of it before. In part, this is because the people who take the pledge do so with discretion.
The organization’s mission is focused on making the world a better place, and couples like Yuri Milner and Julia Milner, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, and Richard and Joan Branson, along with the more than 200 other donors, are part of what makes The Giving Pledge so successful. We would like to highlight their stories and several of the causes they support.
Most recently, Yuri Milner and his wife Julia have lent support to displaced residents of Ukraine who are currently residing outside their own country. Through the Tech For Refugees initiative, the Milners are helping to fund short-term housing through Airbnb, emergency medical equipment, hospital beds, and Spotify music service.
His most recent actions to help Ukraine are intended to provide practical assistance for residents who are currently struggling to survive outside the country. The Milners’ donation was prompted by compassion. As they recently stated to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “We have been devastated by the heartbreaking suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
Mellody Hobson, chairwoman of Starbucks and president and CEO of the Chicago investment firm Ariel Investments, and her husband, Star Wars creator, George Lucas, are active participants in The Giving Pledge. An important charitable donation included $10 million to fund the construction of the Indoor Track & Field Center at Gately Park in the Chicago Park District on behalf of After School Matters. The gift was made by Mellody Hobson and the George Lucas Family Foundation to benefit Chicago’s youth. The track & field center is a world-class, programmable arena that features both indoor and outdoor spaces for youth athletics.
In 2006, Richard Branson, through his nonprofit organization Branson Unite, established a training school in Johannesburg, South Africa, for disadvantaged children. Its goal is to stimulate the economy of the area through the training and education of its youth. A second school was later opened in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 2011. To date, thousands of children have attended and benefited from instruction at the two centers. Branson awards seed money loans to individual classes who demonstrate outstanding development in business plans.
Thanks to the efforts of Yuri Milner and the other millionaires and billionaires who have pledged their support to philanthropy through The Giving Pledge, the whole world is the winner, and change is happening in every field imaginable, from science to youth service to refugee relief. You can learn more about the mission of The Giving Pledge, and about the compassionate and caring individuals who support it, at their website.