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The 50 Richest People Supporting the Giving Pledge

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    The 50 Richest People Supporting the Giving Pledge

    In a world where just eight rich men control as much wealth as the poorest half of the globe’s population, grassroots efforts to end poverty can seem futile. But how might the world change if those wealthy people gave away most of their money? That’s the idea behind the Giving Pledge, an initiative to inspire “a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.” Created in August 2010 by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge urges billionaires to promise the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

    To date, the Giving Pledge has signed on 171 of the world’s wealthiest people from 21 countries, whose collective pledges total more than half a trillion dollars. All pledgers are billionaires who’ve promised to give more than half their wealth to causes they support, ranging from poverty alleviation to medical research to environmental issues. While signing on requires just a “moral commitment” with no legal contract, social pressure to follow through is high, as pledgers publish a public letter underscoring their philanthropic promises. Here’s a look at the 50 richest people supporting the Giving Pledge ranked by their net worth, according to 2017 data collected by Forbes. Read on to discover some of the highlights of our list: a Saudi prince, several pro sports owners, and one of the world’s youngest billionaires.

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    #50. Jeff and Mei Sze Greene

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.4 billion

    Year Pledged: 2011

    A self-made real estate billionaire, Jeff Greene joined the Giving Pledge after an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate in Florida in 2010. Although Jeff’s Giving Pledge letter is vague, he and his wife Mei Sze have since made small gifts to cultural and civic institutions in Florida. In 2016 the couple founded Greene School, a private, nonprofit K-8 school in West Palm Beach that covers tuition for some families with financial need.

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    #49. Yuri and Julia Milner

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Russian internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner may be best known for his investments in Facebook and Twitter, but the particle physicist is also the man behind science-promoting initiatives like the annual $3 million Fundamental Physics Prizes. In 2015 Milner announced he would put at least $100 million toward searching for alien civilizations, a pledge that sparked public controversy.

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    #48. Harry H. Stine

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2017

    The man behind the genetically modified seeds sold to Monsanto and other large agricultural companies, Harry H. Stine made his fortune through Stine Seed, today the world’s largest seed company. One of the latest signers of the Giving Pledge, Stine’s philanthropic interests are still opaque; he has yet to post a letter to the initiative’s website.

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    #47. Dagmar Dolby

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2017

    Another newcomer to the Giving Pledge is Dagmar Dolby, widow of sound pioneer Ray Dolby. A longtime philanthropist, Dagmar Dolby promises to give to causes supporting “reproductive rights, stem cell research, and most recently brain health research, with a focus on mood disorders and Alzheimer's disease.”

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    #46. Michael and Lori Milken

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Nicknamed the “Junk Bond King” in the 1980s and permanently barred from the securities industry since 1990, Michael Milken is well-known today as the chair of the independent economic think tank Milken Institute and as the philanthropist behind Milken Family Foundation, which primarily supports education and medical research. Thanks to his $50 million pledge to George Washington University in 2014 to fund public health programs, the institution’s school of public health now bears Milken’s name.

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    #45. Henry and Susan Samueli

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2011

    Co-founder of chipmaker Broadcom, Henry Samueli, with his wife Susan, committed to supporting STEM education, alternative medicine, and Jewish culture in their Giving Pledge letter. The couple’s foundation donated $50 million to engineering programs at UCLA and UC Irvine in 2017.

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    #44. Phillip and Patricia Frost

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2011

    Miami physician and entrepreneur Phillip Frost made his fortune with two pharmaceutical companies, Key Pharmaceuticals and IVAX. He and his wife have given mostly to science education, donating $100 million to the University of Miami and $35 million to relocate, revitalize, and rename the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

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    #43. Nathan and Elizabeth Blecharczyk

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2016

    Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and his wife Elizabeth, a neonatologist at Stanford, have contributed to their alma maters (Harvard, Wellesley, and Tufts), St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, and College Track, a nonprofit that supports college-bound students from underserved communities, according to philanthropic information site Glasspockets.

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    #42. Julian H. Robertson, Jr.

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertson had given more than $300 million to philanthropic causes even before signing the Giving Pledge in 2010. He donates mostly to health, environmental, and educational organizations, including the New York Stem Cell Research Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, and his alma mater, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

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    #41. Joe Gebbia

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2016

    Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia wrote he would “aim to build pathways for future creatives and entrepreneurs” in his Giving Pledge letter. A trustee on the board of his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, Gebbia donated $300,000 to the institution in 2014 to endow a scholarship.

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    #40. Brian Chesky

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2016

    Brian Chesky joined the Giving Pledge along with his fellow Airbnb co-founders Nathan Blecharczyk and Joe Gebbia. Chesky wrote in his giving letter that he wanted to show young people that “their dreams are not bounded by what they can see in front of them.” According to Glasspockets, Chesky helped create Airbnb’s disaster response program, providing free shelter for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy and other emergencies.

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    #39. Walter Scott, Jr.

    Net Worth (Forbes): $3.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Walter Scott, Jr. made his fortune through Berkshire Hathaway Energy, his friend Warren Buffett’s utilities subsidiary. Scott has given multiple multi-million dollar gifts to his alma mater, Colorado State University, which has since named its School of Engineering after him.

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    #38. Bernie and Billi Marcus

    Net Worth (Forbes): $4 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus has given away more than $1 billion through his Marcus Foundation. A co-founder of Israel Democracy Institute in 1991, Marcus is a longtime supporter of Jewish causes, from the Jewish Institute For National Security Affairs to the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival.

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    #37. Lynne and Marc Benioff

    Net Worth (Forbes): $4 billion

    Year Pledged: 2016

    Founder of cloud computing company Salesforce, Marc Benioff is credited as the creator of the 1-1-1 model of philanthropy donating 1% of equity, employee time, and product to philanthropic causes which has been adopted by more than 1,000 companies through Pledge 1%. A longtime supporter of healthcare and educational causes, Benioff, with his wife Lynne, gave $20 million to the University of Southern California in 2016 to support research and treatment of cancer.

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    #36. Samuel Yin

    Net Worth (Forbes): $4.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Samuel Yin serves as the chairman of Taiwan's Ruentex Group, which has diverse interests ranging from textile manufacturing to financial services. In his Giving Pledge letter, Yin committed to putting 95% of his wealth into a trust for charitable causes. In 2012 Yin donated $100 million to establish the Tang Prize, an award modeled on the Nobel Prize “to encourage individuals across the globe to chart the middle path to achieving sustainable development.”

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    #35. Jeff Skoll

    Net Worth (Forbes): $4.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Best known as eBay's first president, Canadian Jeff Skoll has had a hand in everything from creating the environmental film “An Inconvenient Truth” to providing healthcare to remote areas in Gambia through Riders for Health. He started the Skoll Global Threats Fund in 2009 to address “urgent threats that imperil humanity: climate change, Middle East peace, nuclear weapons, pandemics and water scarcity.”

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    #34. Robert Frederick Smith

    Net Worth (Forbes): $4.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2017

    Founder of investment firm Vista Equity Partners, Robert Frederick Smith is also behind the Fund II Foundation, which supports nonprofit groups that focus on African American culture, human rights, music education, and the environment. In 2013 Smith gave $20 million to the  Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Then in 2016 Smith gave $50 million personally and through his foundation to Cornell University to increase the number of black and female students at its engineering school.

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    #33. John and Ginger Sall

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2012

    Cofounder of statistical software firm SAS Institute, John Sall, along with his wife Ginger, is involved in environmental issues through the Sall Family Foundation. He has served on the boards of The Nature Conservancy and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, among other nonprofits.

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    #32. Richard and Joan Branson

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, wrote in his Giving Pledge letter that he’d support “entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world.” Involved in a wide variety of philanthropic causes, Branson has been making news most recently for his efforts to help the Caribbean recover from Hurricane Irma.

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    #31. Ann and John Doerr

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Venture capitalist John Doerr and his wife Ann have given $65 million to their alma mater, Rice University, through their Benificus Foundation. John Doerr has joined Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which strives to power the world with zero-emissions energy. Meanwhile, Ann Doerr serves on the board of Environmental Defense Fund.

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    #30. George Lucas and Mellody Hobson

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Star Wars creator George Lucas and investment guru Mellody Hobson are the ultimate power couple, who’ve pledged to give to educational causes through Edutopia, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, and other initiatives. In 2006 Lucas made headlines for donating a whopping $175 million to the University of Southern California’s film school.

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    #29. Hansjoerg Wyss

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Hansjoerg Wyss made his fortune by selling Synthes, the medical device manufacturer he founded, to Johnson & Johnson in 2012. He has since used nearly $2 billion in assets to create charitable foundations supporting a wide variety of causes, from environmental conservation to education to art.

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    #28. Andrew and Nicola Forrest

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5.7 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Australian businessman Andrew Forrest is best known as the founder of the mining company  Fortescue Metals Group. He and his wife Nicola do most of their philanthropic work through the Minderoo Foundation, which supports a wide variety of causes in Australia, from ending modern slavery to providing educational and employment opportunities to Indigenous Australians.

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    #27. Dan and Jennifer Gilbert

    Net Worth (Forbes): $5.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2012

    Chairman and cofounder of Quicken Loans — as well as owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and other Cleveland sports teams — Dan Gilbert has established two neurofibromatosis research clinics in Washington, D.C. and Tel Aviv, Israel. He has also made large gifts to both Wayne State University Law School and Michigan State University.

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    #26. David and Barbara Green

    Net Worth (Forbes): $6.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Hobby Lobby founder David Green wrote in his Giving Pledge letter: “For me and my family, charity equals ministry, which equals the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” His philanthropic beneficiaries are churches, Christian universities, and other evangelical Christian institutions and causes.

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    #25. John A. and Susan Sobrato, John Michael Sobrato

    Net Worth (Forbes): $6.4 billion

    Year Pledged: 2012

    Real estate mogul John A. Sobrato founded Sobrato Organization, a development firm that owns residential and commercial property across Silicon Valley. The Organization is now led by his son, John Michael Sobrato. The family foundation has given away hundreds of millions of dollars in money and property, including free rental space to nonprofits. In 2015 John A. Sobrato and his wife Susan made a $15 million donation to the University of San Francisco, the institution’s largest gift from an individual.

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    #24. Rich and Nancy Kinder

    Net Worth (Forbes): $7.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2011

    The former president of Enron, Rich Kinder now chairs Kinder Morgan, an oil and gas pipeline company he co-founded in 1997. With his wife, he founded the Kinder Foundation, which has given nearly $260 million to “enhance urban green space, education, and quality of life in the Houston area.”

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    #23. Gordon and Betty Moore

    Net Worth (Forbes): $7.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    The man behind Moore’s Law — the observation that computer processing power would double every year — George Moore co-founded Intel in 1968. With his wife, Gordon created the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2000, giving to projects supporting environmental conservation, science, and patient care.

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    #22. Stephen M. Ross

    Net Worth (Forbes): $7.4 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is the chairman of Related Companies, which has developed $30 billion worth of properties all over the world. He has given more than $378 million to his alma mater, the University of Michigan; the institution’s business school is named after him.

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    #21. Eli and Edythe Broad

    Net Worth (Forbes): $7.7 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Eli Broad made his fortune with two different companies, the real estate giant KB Homes and the annuities giant SunAmerica, now part of AIG. The Broads have invested more than $4 billion in philanthropic causes; The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation “works to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts.”

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    #20. George B. Kaiser

    Net Worth (Forbes): $7.9 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Chairman of financial services holding company BOK Financial Corporation, George B. Kaiser first made his money in oil prospecting and drilling with the Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. His philanthropic giving focuses on health care and early childhood education as a means of fighting poverty and supporting economic growth. The George Kaiser Family Foundation helps funds a number of Tulsa-based institutions including the National Energy Policy Institute, Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa Community College, and the Philbrook Museum of Art.

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    #19. Pierre and Pam Omidyar

    Net Worth (Forbes): $8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    eBay founder and former chair Pierre Omidyar, along with his wife Pam, founded philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network in 2004, giving money to a variety of nonprofits as well as for-profit companies “that serve overlooked populations with much-needed products and services,” such as microfinance, mobile payment, and solar energy.

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    #18. Michele B. Chan and Patrick Soon-Shiong

    Net Worth (Forbes): $8.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Known as America’s richest doctor, Patrick Soon-Shiong built his fortune with two drug companies, Abraxis and American Pharmaceutical Partners. He and his wife Michele B. Chan focus their philanthropic efforts on mitigating health care disparities, although their donations have stirred up controversy at times.

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    #17. Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna

    Net Worth (Forbes): $10.7 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna were still in their twenties when they signed on to the Giving Pledge. The couple’s philanthropic foundation Good Ventures gives to a variety of causes ranging from mitigating global catastrophic risks to advancing scientific research. In 2016 the couple donated $20 million to Democratic groups to oppose Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.

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    #16. Hasso Plattner

    Net Worth (Forbes): $11.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    German businessman Hasso Plattner launched the German software company SAP in 1972, serving as its CEO until 2003. His philanthropic foundation supports health care, health education, and HIV/AIDS research in South Africa.

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    #15. Ronald O. Perelman

    Net Worth (Forbes): $12.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    American businessman Ronald Perelman has major stakes in companies ranging from Revlon to AM General through his company MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated. The company has made large donations to a variety of arts, medical research, and health care institutions, including the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program, which the company established in 1994.

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    #14. Harold Hamm

    Net Worth (Forbes): $13.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2015

    Famous as a fracking pioneer, Harold Hamm is the CEO of oil company Continental Resources. In 2011 Hamm and his wife Sue Ann have donated over $30M to the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as founding donors for the Harold Hamm Oklahoma Diabetes Center.

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    #13. Elon Musk

    Net Worth (Forbes): $13.9 billion

    Year Pledged: 2012

    Founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, Elon Musk is the chair of the Musk Foundation, which funds efforts to bring solar energy to disaster areas. He agreed to donate $1 million in 2014 to help build the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and donated $10 million in 2015 to the Future of Life Institute for a research program aimed at keeping artificial intelligence “beneficial to humanity.”

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    #12. Vladimir Potanin

    Net Worth (Forbes): $14.3 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin made his fortune when he acquired a stake in mining and smelting company Norilsk Nickel during Russia's controversial privatization in 1995. The Vladimir Potanin Foundation works to “foster the development of knowledge, professionalism, and philanthropy in Russia,” according to its website.

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    #11. Azim Premji

    Net Worth (Forbes): $14.9 billion

    Year Pledged: 2013

    Known as the czar of India’s IT industry, Azim Premji serves as the chairman of Wipro, an Indian IT services corporation with an innovation center in Silicon Valley and a $100 million venture capital fund. Since signing the Giving Pledge he has donated $2.2 billion to his Azim Premji Foundation, which focuses on improving India’s public school system.

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    #10. Carl Icahn

    Net Worth (Forbes): $16.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Wall Street investor Carl Icahn is known as a corporate raider and, more recently, a former Trump economic advisor, who left his political role amid controversy about conflict of interest. Icahn has donated large sums to a number of educational and health care institutions, including his alma mater Princeton University, Connecticut prep school Choate Rosemary Hall, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, all of which have named buildings or programs after him.

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    #9. Ray and Barbara Dalio

    Net Worth (Forbes): $16.8 billion

    Year Pledged: 2011

    Ray Dalio made his fortune as the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund firm. Since 2003 the Dalio family has given more than $1.32 billion to the Dalio Foundation to fund everything from polio eradication projects to community arts organizations.

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    #8. Jim and Marilyn Simons

    Net Worth (Forbes): $18 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Founder of legendary hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, James Simons was dubbed "the world's smartest billionaire” by the Financial Times in 2006. He, along with his wife Marilyn, has reportedly given away $2.1 billion to philanthropic causes, mostly supporting math and science education, autism research, and healthcare.

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    #7. HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz AlSaud

    Net Worth (Forbes): $18.7 billion

    Year Pledged: 2016

    A member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is an investor with stakes in Lyft, Twitter, Four Seasons, and other companies all over the world. In 2015 he announced on his website that he would donate his entire fortune to philanthropic causes through Alwaleed Philanthropies, although his past philanthropic efforts have been met with some skepticism. He was arrested in November 2017 in an anti-corruption inquiry.

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    #6. Paul G. Allen

    Net Worth (Forbes): $19.9 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has given more than $2 billion to a variety of causes benefiting the arts, community services, environmental conservation, and science and technology. Most notably, he launched the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003, to which he has donated $500 million to date.

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    #5. Michael R. Bloomberg

    Net Worth (Forbes): $47.5 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg made his fortune with Bloomberg L.P., a financial information, media, and software company he co-founded in 1981. He has donated more than $4 billion to philanthropic causes, notably to the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign to address climate change and to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for stronger gun control laws.

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    #4. Larry Ellison

    Net Worth (Forbes): $52.2 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison wrote in his Giving Pledge letter that he had already put virtually all of his assets into a trust years before. He has given millions to Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, educational institutions, and healthcare organizations, including a $200 million pledge to the University of Southern California to establish a cancer treatment center.

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    #3. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

    Net Worth (Forbes): $56 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    In an open letter to their newborn daughter in 2015, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan pledged to give away 99% of their Facebook shares over their lifetimes, focusing on “advancing human potential and promoting equality.” The couple has already supported a number of educational causes, including giving $100 million to the Newark school system and donating $120 million to their nonprofit Startup:Education, which supports education programs in the Bay Area.

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    #2. Warren Buffett

    Net Worth (Forbes): $75.6 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Revered as one of the most successful investors in the world, Warren Buffett is the CEO and chairman of the multinational conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway. One of the initiators of the Giving Pledge, Buffett wrote in his letter that he would give away more than 99% of his wealth. According to CNBC he has given away more than $46 billion since 2000. Much of the money has gone to charitable foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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    #1. Bill and Melinda Gates

    Net Worth (Forbes): $86 billion

    Year Pledged: 2010

    Bill Gates is as well-known today for chairing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife as for co-founding Microsoft with Paul Allen. The couple’s foundation, which is the world’s largest private charitable foundation, is focused on improving global health and saving lives. Bill Gates has also made large personal donations to educational institutions, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

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