Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross announced yesterday he was joining The Giving Pledge, a group of 114 individuals committed to donating half of their wealth to charity. The Giving Pledge was created by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melina Gates as an effort to inspire deeper engagement in philanthropy and increased charitable giving globally.
With that commitment, Ross and his wife Kara will plan to donate at least half of his $4.4 billion estate to charity upon their deaths.
"As a very young boy my uncle taught me a valuable lesson, the importance of giving back and using your impact and influence to make the world a better place," Ross said, according to the Giving Pledge's website. "Although I have generally conducted my philanthropic efforts privately, I hope through publicly committing to the Giving Pledge that I will inspire others to commit to significant philanthropy the way my uncle inspired me. I am delighted, grateful and honored to join this important effort in the hope that collectively we can leave the world a little better place than we found it."
Ross was joined by Lord Ashcroft, Sara Blakely, Monica and David Gelbaum, Craig and Susan McCaw, Paul E. Singer, Mark and Mary Stevens, Tad Taube, and Samuel Yin in yesterday's announcement.
According to the Giving Pledge's website, it is "specifically focused on billionaires or those who would be billionaires if not for their giving.
"The idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds. We are inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.
"Initially, the focus was on the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States. Since there have been enthusiastic responses to the Giving Pledge around the world, the pledge now includes people from a mix of countries around the world."
The 114 current signatories range in ages from 28 to 97, representing 10 different countries, and spread over 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Where the money is donated is up to each individual signatory, and the only stipulation is that each member donates at least half his or her accumulated wealth.
To read more about the Giving Pledge, and to see the other 113 members, head over to their website.