Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Joins Buffett and Gates in "Giving Pledge"

Mark Zuckerberg is the newest recruit in Warren Buffet and Bill Gates' Giving Pledge Campaign, agreeing to give away half of his wealth to charities.

The Giving Pledge is a movement—small in members, but large in funds—that was initiated by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates and asks the world's billionaires, young and old, to do just that: pledge to give half of their wealth away before or after they die.

In September, Zuckerberg made a $100 million donation to Newark's public school system. Critics questioned the timing of that grant, which coincided perfectly with the release of the potentially damaging film The Social Network, a film said to portray Zuckerberg as greedy and friendless. But Newark Mayor Corey Booker defended the entrepreneur, saying that he had to convince Zuckerberg to not give anonymously and that the Facebook team was worried the move would be viewed as a publicity stunt.

"People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?" said Zuckerberg in a statement quoted by Reuters. "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."

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has also joined the campaign, as have private investor Ted Forstmann, Morningstar Chief Executive Joe Mansueto, and businessman Nicolas Berggruen.

The news is perhaps more symbolically relevant than tactical. With so much critique of the aid industry and how charity funds are used, is such a massive donation drive really useful and beneficial to the world or is the relevance in the fact that some of the world's leading players feel so strongly about wanting to make the world a better place?

The Giving Pledge is not only a perfect opportunity for charities and social enterprises to get even more serious about efficiency, but it also highlights the importance of informed donors, should those billions somehow go to waste on inefficient or corrupt NGOs.

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[Image: Flickr user deneyterrio]

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11 Comments

  • sabi arora

    This all publicity stunt ,why not they give their wealth to strugling Americans who lost their jobs, house,Bussines,As iam one of those Americans.

  • Jose Caballero

    I will like to see more donations to the preservation of the Earth, to preserve forests, to protect oceans and animals and basically the planets biodiversity.

  • Chuy McDougle

    I think Zuckerberg, Gates, Buffet, Jobs, Ellison, Soros, Oprah, Cuban and the rest of the progressive tax & spend crowd should demonstrate their patriotism and donate their wealth to the federal government. Forget about tax increases for pikers making 250K and give your entire combined net worth (you can each keep $100 M to play around with and pay for your jet fuel) of approximately $200 billion to the feds and let's all watch how it gets spent. LOL.

  • annette kamuda rubright

    You seem like a good person and it nice to find someone so young to give money to people who need it or to the schools , the schools are so much in need they keep cutting out classes art, music, and I now the kids now are not as interested in school the only good thing is lunch sometimes , anyway. My grand daughter lives in Indiana and she takes art in school it interests her so she does better we live in Georgia with the rest of my gran-kids and here they cut a lot of stuff out , my grandson is 12 and in PE he was doing weights so he was doing good I just hope they don't cut out the important things for the kids ,
    Thank you for what you do

  • Ashley Metz Cummings

    The philanthropic industry has evolved quite a bit. There are a lot of organisations capable of investing philanthropic money in structured ways with measurable results -- the venture philanthropy industry is alive and growing and investment has come largely from high net worth individuals or PE/VC firms. There are rightly a lot of questions raised about aid and charity effectiveness, but it's worth looking at what others are doing to combat these issues. Access to capital is crucial for development and donations like these, when focused through venture philanthropists (grant-givers and social investors), can be used to very effectively.

  • PatrickLA

    Want to know the main reason they give? Guilt. They know what they got was not so much what they did or created but Timing. Facebook snowballed, Gates stole his technology from Xerox, Buffett from insurance laws and luck.

  • Norb Vonnegut

    The Giving Pledge is an extraordinary act of generosity. But I think it's worthwhile to raise questions about the unanticipated consequences . . .

  • kevin peterson

    I'm surprised. More than I expected from him. I guess with all the bad press .......

    That said: I am glad to see him do the right thing. Let's see if he actually follows through.