The majority of billionaires give at least some of their money to charity, but some of them are planning on giving away the majority of their fortunes to worthwhile causes. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates partnered together to create the Giving Pledge. This pledge invites the world’s wealthiest people to pledge more than half of their wealth to charitable causes in their lifetimes or in their wills.
To date, more than 137 of the world’s ultra-wealth individuals and couples have joined the cause. Some of them have even pledged 99 percent of their money to charity and other worthwhile causes. Here are 11 billionaires who are giving away their fortunes to worthwhile causes as part of the Giving Pledge.
#1 – Paul Allen
Net Worth: $17.4 billion
Paul Allen has given away $2 billion so far to scientific research through the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The Microsoft co-founder joined the Giving Pledge in 2010. The majority of his philanthropy is seen in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in science research. Included in his $2 billion of donations so far is a $100 million donation to combat the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
#2 – Manoj Bhargava
Net Worth: $1.5-4 billion
Manoj Bhargava, who founded 5-Hour Energy, pledged to give almost all of his wealth away to charity. The CEO focuses his philanthropy on the alleviation of human suffering. So far his foundation has adopted more than 400 projects, including advancing women’s career education in rural India. Another project included bettering schools and hospitals. Bhargava’s foundation is also trying to cut fossil fuel emissions in half.
#3 – Sara Blakely
Net Worth: $1.06 billion
Sara Blakely made her money by founding and selling Spanx. The billionaire promised to donate her money to “make the world a better place … one woman at a time. Blakely began the effort with a program called Leg-UP. Through the program, female entrepreneurs can feature their products in the Spanx catalog for free. Other contributions include financing college education for women and funding entrepreneurship programs in girls’ schools. Blakeley also donated $1 million to Oprah’s Leadership Academy for girls in South Africa.
#4 – Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $66.7 billion
Warren Buffett has already donated more than $21.5 billion to philanthropic causes. He create the Giving Pledge and promised to donate more than 99 percent of his money to charitable causes during his lifetime or upon his death. In his pledge letter on the website, Buffett writes, “To date about 20% of my shares [in Berkshire Hathaway stock] have been distributed” to charity. He plans to continue distributing about 4 percent of his stock in the company every year.