Have you ever heard of the Giving Pledge? This international philanthropic pledge is a charitable effort that has made headlines and started conversations since its inception in 2010. Founders Bill Gates and Warren Buffett produced the pledge to ask billionaires to commit to sharing at least half of their wealth for charity in their lifetimes or upon their deaths. The pledge has since been signed by 154 billionaires with a total wealth of almost $800 billion. The diverse group of ultra-prosperous individuals includes men and women from nations scattered across the globe between the ages of 30 and 100. This means at least $400 billion will be donated to charitable causes on behalf of these billionaires and their families.
While most of us aren’t billionaires, this doesn’t mean we cannot also do our part. No matter your family income, we can all make a difference in our own ways.
The director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Rosen, explains the Giving Pledge has another goal aside from helping the planet with the riches of billionaires. The second purpose is to stimulate philanthropy from all of us, worldwide. The basis of the Giving Pledge is so historic and so dramatic that it has the underlying benefit of stimulating conversations about philanthropy around the world and at all income levels. So while you may not be able to give away half of your net worth and still be able to provide for yourself and your family, you can give back in a way that is feasible for you based on your needs and income. There are many ways we can keep the idea of charitable giving going. We can discuss the significance that every little bit helps with our loved ones. We can help spread the word about important causes. We can raise our children to be altruistic.
Why not forego birthday gifts this year to ask for donations to your favorite charity instead? Are you low on cash but have free time? Why not volunteer your services to a local non-profit? Why not openly discuss the importance of philanthropic giving to your family, especially your children and the younger generations. Demonstrate the importance of giving back by setting up a grandchildren’s fund, that will not only help others, but help future generations understand and appreciate the importance of tikkun olam.