While perusing the Giving Pledge website (https://givingpledge.org ), as I do from time to time, I realised that two more Australians have joined the pledge. Of the 111 Australian billionaires (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_Review_Rich_List_2021), that brings the number of Giving Pledge signatories to 5.
It’s been more than 4 years since we have had a new pledge. Dr (honoris causa) L. H. (Len) Ainsworth AM became the third Australian to join in May of 2017. Dr Andrew Forrest AO and Dr (honoris causa) Nicola Forrest AO kicked things off here in February 2013 as Australia’s first signatories to the pledge.
The Giving Pledge was started in August of 2010 by Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. It’s quite an exclusive club – you must be a billionaire and you must publicly commit to giving away at least 50% of your wealth while you are alive or shortly after your death.
The two new members of this very exclusive philanthropic commitment are the wife and husband team of Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, co-founders of Canva. The recipient of these funds will be the Canva Foundation. This will make their foundation the largest philanthropic foundation in the country.
While they recently announced that they would give away the “the significant majority” of their wealth (currently estimated at $16.4 billion) to philanthropy in the coming years, joining the Giving Pledge is a step up in terms of commitment. Giving Pledge signatories must globally endorse the pledge’s giving metric and allow their oath to be published on the pledge’s website. Many write a letter explaining their decision to join the pledge, describing their philosophy of giving and the causes that they feel strongly about.
This is the largest allocation of philanthropic funds by an Australian in the country’s history. Many, many congratulations to Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht for their incredible gift to humanity. Let’s hope their philanthropy will inspire more giving of this magnitude by Australia’s fellow billionaires.