Wednesday, 17 more billionaires announced that they had taken the Giving Pledge, a statement that they intend to give away at least half of their wealth before they die.
The pledge, an initiative started by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, has drawn mixed reviews, with some hailing it as revolutionary and others panning it, as most of the first group of signatories, which was announced this summer, included mostly those who had after already making philanthropic commitments that far exceed 50 percent of their wealth.
This second group, which brings the total number of pledge takers to 57, includes at least one big name that is a philanthropic neophyte, facebook founder, Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg, the world’s youngest self-made multi-billionaire, who made his first significant charitable gift this year, $100 million to the Newark school system.
“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” Zuckerberg said in a press release from the Giving Pledge organizers. “With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts.”
By our count, among the new signatories are nine Jews or Jewish couples:
- Nicholas Berggruen
- Lee and Toby Cooperman
- David and Barbara Green
- Carl Icahn
- Sidney Kimmel
- Michael and Lori Milken
- Dustin Moskovitz
- Charles Zegar and Merryl Snow Zegar
- Mark Zuckerberg
Here are some other relevant statements from the release:
- Lee and Toby Cooperman: "[We] feel it is our moral imperative to give others the opportunity to pursue the American Dream by sharing our financial success…In the 1930’s, Sir Winston Churchill observed that ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’…It is in this spirit that we enthusiastically agree to take the Giving Pledge."
- David and Barbara Green: "Like my parents and their parents before them, you don’t have to be wealthy to give. You can give your time, your talents and your passion. We congratulate those who have taken on this wonderful pledge."
- Carl Icahn: "Until Bill, Melinda and Warren started this project, I never considered going public with my intentions. However, I certainly see the value of a project that encourages wealthy individuals to step forward and commit to use their wealth for the common good. I hope that by adding my voice with those who are supporting this project, we will all encourage others to participate."
- Sidney Kimmel: "My thinking is rather simple: I learned as a young boy that sharing with others is the right thing to do, a lesson I observed from my father’s willingness to share even our meager means with those less fortunate. Ever since, it has never been difficult for me to continue to do the right thing."