A hefty yet graceful movement is transforming the world as you read, and it’s propelled by a wave of philanthropists on an unwavering quest to abolish global poverty. We’re calling it the Giving Movement, and it’s backed by bighearted philanthropists that range from billionaires giving away their fortunes, to people with much more modest bank accounts whose pledges are proportionately generous, if not more so.
(Above: Warren Buffett, Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates)
Making the news recently was Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement to give away half of his fortune as part of The Giving Pledge. The sum promises to be mighty as Facebook has been valuated at over $50 billion. The Giving Pledge, which was started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, “is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy,” according to GivingPledge.org. Among the 57 billionaires who have pledged to give at least 50% of their wealth are Ted Turner, Barron Hilton, T. Boone Pickens, David Rockefeller, George Lucas, Michael R. Bloomberg and Paul G. Allen.
But you don’t need to be a billionaire to make a difference.
Let Toby Ord be your inspiration: The 31-year-old researcher at Oxford University is committed to helping solve global poverty by donating 1 million British pounds, or over 1.5 million US dollars, in his lifetime. The Australian is living off about £300 (US$470) a month in order to meet his goal.
He started a movement called Giving What We Can to get people to give 10% of their incomes (Ord has been giving away over one third of his) to help those countries where it’s needed the most. Next year, his salary will rise from £25,300 or US$39,556, to £33,000 or $51,595, and he’s pledged to donate everything above £18,000.
Ord is living proof that just about all of us can afford to give away 10% of our lifetime earnings.
“When I was earning £14,000 [US$21,889] as a student, I found I was in the richest 4% in the world, even adjusting for how much further money goes in developing countries,” he told the BBC. “Giving away 10% of that, I found that I would still be in the top 5%.”
Wow. Also inspiring was Zuckerberg’s quote after making his pledge:
“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done? 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.”
Old or young, rich or poor, the Giving Movement is being fueled by people who are realizing they can help make a difference on a gargantuan scale. In support of that goal is The Global Poverty Project, which is dedicated to “catalysing the movement to end extreme poverty.” Check out GPP’s inspiring and informative trailer below called 1.4 Billion Reasons, named so for the number of people living in extreme poverty around the world.
We’ll leave you with an infographic by Mint.com on The Giving Pledge. It’s a great demonstration of how quickly people are jumping on board because when the infographic was first published earlier this year, there were only 40 billionaires on the list. Today, just four months later, 17 more have made the pledge.