An image of two sets of hands signing a document is overlaid with the Giving Pledge logo.

Changing Lives Through the Giving Pledge

There are many wealthy people in the world who want to support philanthropic causes they care about and the Giving Pledge is a vehicle that allows them to make that commitment. This pledge is known across the globe with over 200 pledgers in more than 28 countries. The concept of this pledge is to create “an open invitation for billionaires, or those who would be if not for their giving, to publicly commit to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetimes or in their wills.”
Each person who signs this pledge is encouraged to write a letter that details their philanthropic efforts and the charitable causes to which they wish to give. Many notable people have signed this pledge including Robert F. Smith, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others.

Why the Giving Pledge Matters

While anyone can choose to give away their money to philanthropic causes, there are a couple of reasons why the Giving Pledge is particularly important for wealthy individuals to sign. With charitable giving in the U.S. already reaching nearly $500 billion a year, those who sign this pledge have the resources to vastly increase overall charitable giving around the world. This has the potential to assist thousands of organizations serving people across the globe and sets a standard for giving that continues throughout the lifetime of these individuals, creating a better future for all.
In addition to the increase in giving, signing this pledge allows individuals to put a clear purpose behind their philanthropic giving. Take MacKenzie Scott for example – she pledged three separate rounds of billion-dollar donations that supported hundreds of organizations and has pledged to continue donating to these organizations throughout her lifetime. Rather than making sporadic donations, she set a consistent standard for her giving. Not only does signing the Giving Pledge help support philanthropic causes but it also sets a foundation to encourage continual giving for years to come.

Robert F. Smith and the Giving Pledge

When Robert F. Smith signed the Giving Pledge in 2017 and joined the ranks of these other notable philanthropists, he became the first African American to do so. While he has been a longtime supporter of philanthropic causes, signing the Giving Pledge signaled a lasting commitment to his philanthropic work throughout his lifetime.

“I will never forget that my path was paved by my parents, grandparents and generations of African Americans whose names I will never know. Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed me to strive and achieve. My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward.”

Smith, along with his wife Hope Dworaczyk Smith, have focused their philanthropic efforts on creating a better future for generations to come. Together, they hope to help create a better world for children to grow up in, one where their unlimited potential is matched by constant support and encouragement that will allow them to be successful. In Smith’s letter, he also states that we are entering the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” which brings technology to the forefront of everything that we do. Knowledge is power in this generation and he hopes to empower African Americans with the necessary tools, including technology, to help them become successful leaders.
Learn more about Smith’s philanthropic giving and the causes he cares about by visiting his Facebook page.