The Giving Pledge
As of July 2015, 137 prominent people or couples from 14 countries had joined The Giving Pledge, publicly pledging to donate the majority of their wealth for philanthropic purposes, either during their lifetimes or upon their deaths.
Bill and Joyce Cummings were the first Massachusetts couple to take the Pledge, which was started by billionaire investor Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates of Microsoft fame. All members are billionaires or would be if they had not already donated most of their wealth. Many have pledged to donate 90 percent or more of their assets; the Cummings have already done so.
The Giving Pledge holds learning sessions throughout the year, as well as an Annual Gathering so members can share ideas and discuss emerging trends in philanthropy. The Cummings have attended several such events, which are very much “working” sessions. Past gatherings have included discussions on education reform, poverty alleviation, medical research, international giving, and effective collaboration.
At one such session, the Cummings joined the Gateses, Buffet, and a number of other Pledge members at the White House. President Barack Obama personally chaired a two-hour meeting focused largely on how philanthropists and government agencies might better work together to accomplish more.