Website Keeps an Eye on the US Giving Pledge
8 August 2012 at 11:31 am
A new US website is keeping an eye on the Giving Pledge – an effort spearheaded by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates to urge America’s wealthiest to commit the majority of their assets to philanthropic causes.
The "Eye on the Giving Pledge" initiative is part of the US Foundation Center's Glasspockets web site. Glasspockets was recently set up to showcase the online transparency and accountability practices of the largest US Foundations.
The website is now using the Foundation Center's data on philanthropy with public information to offer an in-depth picture of all Giving Pledge participants (81 currently), their charitable activities, and the potential impact of this collective effort.
The Foundation Centre says with a combined net worth of roughly $400 billion, the commitments made by the current 81 participants could bring an estimated $200 billion or more to charity over time, representing a dramatic increase in philanthropic giving.
By comparison, the Centre says, the 76,600 grantmaking foundations in the U.S. currently hold an estimated $646 billion in assets and give $46.9 billion annually.
President of the Foundation Center Bradford Smith says the Giving Pledge has tremendous potential.
"And in a world where philanthropists now achieve celebrity status and new forms of philanthropy emerge at an extraordinary clip, it's more important than ever to keep pace with giving trends and make sense of it all. Good data and transparency are key to understanding philanthropy's impact on the world,” he said.
"Eye on the Giving Pledge" contains profiles of the 81 individuals and families that have signed the Pledge to date. Each profile details the participant's net worth, primary industry affiliation, giving interests, related foundations, charitable board service, and philanthropic press coverage.
“Charts reveal demographic trends in participation, including geographic distribution, industry affiliation, net worth, and age of the pledgers. Additionally, curated reading lists provide insights and opinion about the Giving Pledge more broadly, and track related coverage in Philanthropy News Digest, a service of the Foundation Center.
Janet Camarena, who leads the Foundation Center's Glasspockets initiative said, "Because there is no specific timeline for the Giving Pledge gifts to be made, 'Eye on the Giving Pledge' provides a way to follow how those who have signed on are, through their foundations and personal giving, fulfilling their pledge".
The Foundation Center says it will add new pledgers, continuously update their information, and add new features to "Eye on the Giving Pledge" on a regular basis, including more data visualization tools and human interest stories about the participants.