More tech billionaires donate majority of wealth to charity

9 Dec 2010

Sixteen billionaires, including Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and AOL co-founder Steve Case have agreed to give away most of their fortunes to charity as part of ‘The Giving Pledge.’

The Giving Pledge, organised by former Microsoft head Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett, aims to persuade many of the world’s richest to give much of their wealth to charitable causes.

It was developed due to Buffett’s dislike of dynastic wealth, who influenced Gates towards philanthropic work.

Since the inception of the project, Gates, his wife Melinda Gates and Buffett have called on the wealthiest to commit to giving away most of their wealth. The pledge doesn’t ask for a specific amount nor does it track giving.

The new additions mean that the list of donors has hit more than 50, joining Oracle founder Larry Ellison and director George Lucas.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Zuckerberg joined the pledge and is worth an estimated $6.9bn, judging on his stake at Facebook. Though the site isn’t listed on the stock market, as a result, the money is more theoretical than physical.

This isn’t the first charitable donation Zuckerberg made – on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show, he promised to give up to $100m to public schools in the US.

The 26-year-old Facebook founder would have been the world’s youngest billionaire if it weren’t for Dustin Moskovitz, who also emerged as a donor. Just eight days younger than Zuckerberg, he was a co-founder at Facebook, leaving the site in 2008.

AOL founder and former CEO Steve Case also agreed to donate to the pledge. In a letter where they agreed to the pledge, both he and his wife Jean Case noted that they felt that the assets they have were not “theirs” but that they were “responsible stewards” of these resources, and thus felt obliged to reinvest them in a positive manner.