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What do Mark Zuckerbeg, Michael Bloomberg, and George Lucas have in common with Spanx founder, Sara Blakely? No, no, it's not a slender behind. They are among the billionaires who have pledged to give at least half of their wealth to charity. Say again?

They signed The Giving Pledge:


The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society's most pressing problems by inviting the world's wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charity causes either during their lifetime or after their death.

Sara Blakely is the first self-made female billionaire to pledge. The Giving Pledge idea started with Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010 and has grown to 114 members, worldwide. Tuesday night, eight new Giving Pledge signatories were added.

Sara Blakely, 42, started her 100% privately owned slimming-undergarment company with $5,000. Many remember first seeing her on the Oprah Winfrey show. Blakely sent a basket of Spanx to Oprah, who loved the product and endorsed Spanx to the world. How wonderful to see women lifting each other up. (No, that pun was not intentional, but in finding it now, I'm owning it!) Blakely looks to pay Oprah's kindness forward. After Sara made the Forbes billionaire list, she was approached by Bill and Melinda Gates to join The Giving Pledge. Blakely says she wants to contribute to the empowerment of women who are under-served.

"Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would have started with their butts…I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America. I never lose sight that I was born in the right country at the right time. And I never lose sight of the fact that there are millions of women around the world who are not dealt with the same deck of cards upon their birth."
Other Giving Pledgers Include: David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Reed Hastings, Richard Branson,  Mark Zuckerbeg, and Michael Bloomberg.

See more about The Giving Pledge on their website.

It's beautiful to see this small group from the '2%' giving back. The Giving Pledge is not without critics. Good and bad can be found in anyone and anything. I choose to see the good in this.

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:08 AM PDT.

Also republished by Good News.

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Comment Preferences

  •  a terrific thing. Jon Huntsman senior has said the (7+ / 0-)

    same thing. so sometimes it works on the other side of the aisle as well. go figure. in fact he said that signers of the pledge should give away 80%
    the giving pledge

    "None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps" Thurgood Marshall

    by UTvoter on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:18:48 AM PDT

  •  What a great thing to do with her billion. (7+ / 0-)

    thank you Ms. Blakely.  

    The heart and soul finds it's way to justice, love and mercy.

  •  What a Social Tragedy That This Kind of (8+ / 0-)

    wealth is in so few hands to make these gestures.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:29:53 AM PDT

    •  Giving money away? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie Salzillo, a2nite

      What kind of unAmerican, anti-capitalist shit is this?  Jeezus won't be happy.  

      Seriously, the giving pledge is absolutely necessary.  Billions building up in the hands of a few is not healthy for the economy--that cash has to be recycled and put in the hands of people who need it to spend.

      The sleep of reason brings forth monsters. --Goya

      by MadScientist on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:10:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Self-Made Billionaire"????? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, bumbi, a2nite

    You so funny. No such thang.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:47:49 AM PDT

    •  As opposed to the Walmart heirs who had it (9+ / 0-)

      drop into their laps.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:59:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oprah made her (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bumbi, hazzcon

        And somebody made Oprah.

        Down the line it goes all the way back to the queen of the vampires ... um, I mean the first person who had more stuff and gave some of it to another person who had potential to make the first person their stuff back and then some.

        The real point here is that benevolent aristocrats are just a band-aid.  We shouldn't need billionaires' charity and activism because we should all have good jobs, a strong welfare state, a progressive society, and a transparent and accountable government devoted to fulfilling the mandate in the Preamble of the Constitution: "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".

        Instead we have the attitude that billionaires must be allowed to do whatever they want, on the grounds that since they're rich, they must be smart or at the very least will want to sell us things that we want to buy.  That attitude can empower billionaires with some shred of conscience, but at the end of the day it will only make things worse as it equally empowers the far more numerous high-functioning psychopaths.

        •  It's also about good will and spirit. And I (0+ / 0-)

          embrace what these people are doing. The Giving Pledge inspires me. It makes me want to give and do more. I'll take that - however it comes.

          "In this world, hate has never yet dispelled hate. Only love can dispel hate." ~ Buddha

          by Leslie Salzillo on Thu May 09, 2013 at 10:02:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  How come (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ruh Roh

    nothing seems to get better with these billions and billions?

    Never laugh at your wife's choices, you are one of them.

    by jackandjill on Thu May 09, 2013 at 07:52:44 AM PDT

  •  I like Spanx as much as the next (0+ / 0-)

    slightly flabby woman, but the fact that you can make a billion dollars by making a garment that squeezes people's asses is absurd.

  •  It's like a hot meal in the park (0+ / 0-)

    Here's a parable:

    Imagine a city in the middle of nowhere, where 90% of everyone was unemployed and pretty much homeless (lived in a shanty town) and this had been going on for decades, so everyone was used to it and it seemed normal. The homeless had all figured out a routine where they would sleep in their shanty or in a box and where they could get a free meal to keep them going. It wasn't much of a life for them, but they did form a community and would play music on makeshift instruments to keep themselves entertained in the evenings. Most would die in their forties after a hard life. Many were murdered by other shanty town residents.

    In the meantime, the other 10% had all the wealth they needed and lived in fabulous homes in a gated community on top of the hill where they tried not to look down on the squalor of the shanty town. Some of them felt bad that their refrigerators were always full and their down beds were so comfortable while most slept on the hard ground with an empty stomach. So many of them formed a charity to help. They were good people and had the best intentions. The charity decided the best way to help was to provide free hot meals in the park for whoever needed them. They couldn't provide meals every day for everyone, but they did often enough that it helped many not be quite so miserable.

    Eventually a girl who lived in the gated community grew up and she had a loving heart, so she took a large amount of the massive fortune she had and donated it to this charity. Everyone was so thrilled. They would now be able to provide a hot meal in the park one more day per month.

    In the meantime, nothing else changed. The town council kept taxes low, so the town fell into disrepair (except for areas the wealthy traveled). The police made sure the gated community and business district were crime free, but mostly let the shanty town residents on their own, which meant lots of crime of all types went on, usually unreported. The charity kept providing meals and it made the wealthy of the town feel good about themselves even when they had to walk past the broken, disheveled beggars on their way to their office.

    And some people lived happily ever after. The End.

    "If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again." Groucho Marx

    by Ruh Roh on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:26:22 AM PDT

  •  I nominate Ms. Blakely for Secretary of Commerce! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leslie Salzillo

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Thu May 09, 2013 at 08:52:04 AM PDT

  •  I have costed out a program to end poverty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leslie Salzillo, a2nite

    worldwide in the next generation. It is based on the fact that One Laptop Per Child XO computers now cost less than half-decent printed textbooks, and that we could provide free Open Educational Resources (OERs) to replace textbooks. Computers, plus the needed electricity and broadband Internet, for every one of the billion or so children in the world, could be provided at a net savings in many countries, particularly when you consider the economic benefits of providing electricity and Internet to even the poorest and most remote villages. Some countries would need assistance to get started. The initial investment would be about $25 billion annually, until increasing tax revenues in even the poorest countries enabled them to take over the program and expand it as needed with school construction, teacher training, curriculum development, decent salaries, and so on.

    Of course, it would be worthwhile to spend some tens of billions annually on matters of health and other immediate needs while we do that.

    It is clear that educating every child to qualify for jobs in the global economy and to be effective citizens would not only end poverty but all of its associated ills, and put a major dent in government corruption, terrorism, and even war.

    Oxfam has pointed out that the incomes of a hundred of the richest people on Earth would cover ending poverty several times over. Or 1.5% of record US corporate profits ($1.75 trillion last year) would do it, resulting in tens of trillions of dollars in economic growth worldwide.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:00:55 AM PDT

  •  Now, if she could only squeeze the same out of (0+ / 0-)

    the rest of them...

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Thu May 09, 2013 at 09:02:09 AM PDT

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