Trends

The Giving Pledge and Its Potential Impact

Americans are a generous folk: in 2009, charitable contributions from American individuals, corporations and foundations totalled $303.75 billion, according to the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University’s Giving USA 2010 report. Combine that with a new initiative started by a couple of A-list billionaires and that amount could easily triple.

In June, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett started the Giving Pledge: an initiative aimed at getting billionaires to pledge at least half of their net worth to charitable donations. So far, 40 individuals have signed up. The roster includes household names like George Lucas, David Rockefeller, Ted Turner and, not least, founders Gates and Buffett, who have pledged significantly more than half of their net worth. While some have already argued that part of the estimated $600 billion that this initiative could raise would have been donated anyway, the impact of the Giving Pledge remains astounding. We break down the numbers in this infographic.