News and analysis
April 28, 2011

10 Families Add Their Names to Giving Pledge

The Cummings Foundation

Joyce and Bill Cummings, who signed the Giving Pledge, have a family foundation that gives to aging, human rights, and other causes.

Ten more of America’s richest families announced today that they’ll give away at least half their fortunes by joining the Giving Pledge, a campaign led by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to persuade billionaires to be more generous with their wealth.

That brings the total number of families who have signed the pledge to 69, meaning that roughly 15 percent of the 403 U.S. billionaires have joined the effort. (Not everyone who has signed the pledge is a billionaire.)

People signing up today include a number of billionaires whose philanthropic interests already are well defined.

Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems, and his wife, Neeru, have made significant for-profit investments in microfinance groups; Lynn Schusterman, an oil heiress, has focused on Jewish causes; and investor Harold Simmons and his wife, Annette, have done much of their giving in their native Texas.

John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of hair-care company John Paul Mitchell and of tequila distiller Patron Spirits, started a nonprofit group to help people in Appalachia, while Phillip and Patricia Frost, who made their wealth in pharmaceuticals, have given millions to art and education groups in their home state of Florida.

Rounding out the list of those who announced pledges today are Joyce and Bill Cummings, who made their money in real estate and have a family foundation that gives to aging, human rights, and other causes; Ray Dalio, founder of investment company Bridgewater Associates, and his wife, Barbara; Richard Kinder, an energy mogul, and his wife, Nancy; Harold and Sue Ann Hamm, whose wealth comes from oil; and Edward W. Rose, founder of the defense firm Sierra Technologies, and his wife, Deedie Potter Rose.

The pace at which billionaires are joining the Giving Pledge is slowing. Forty families took the pledge in August, two months after the Gateses and Mr. Buffett announced the plan. In December, 17 more did so.