Billionaire Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio and his wife, Barbara, announced their commitment to the Giving Pledge, an effort by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett encouraging America’s wealthiest families to give more than half of their wealth to charity.
Forbes estimated that Dalio’s fortune was $6 billion in March, which is likely to be low given AR’s Rich List estimate in April that Dalio earned $3.1 billion in 2010 alone.
Several other well known managers have already signed the pledge, including John Arnold of Centaurus Energy, T. Boone Pickens of BP Capital, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management and Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors.
According to the group, the pledge “is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest American families and individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract, and it does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.”
So far, 69 families have signed since its June 2010 inception. “We are seeing great progress in less than a year,” said Warren Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway in a statement today announcing new commitments from Dalio and nine others. “I am delighted that so many wealthy Americans are taking a public pledge that supports philanthropy. The continued energy and passion for this project, and the many philanthropy conversations it has sparked with families from all walks of life, are inspiring.”
Until now, Dalio’s charitable contributions were relatively small compared to his wealth. As AR noted in its March 2011 cover story on Bridgewater, Dalio and his family foundation gave more than $65 million to hundreds of charities during the past three years, a period when his personal fortune ballooned.
One of the main recipients of Dalio’s philanthropy has been David Lynch’s Transcendental Meditation group, to which Dalio gave more than $1.25 million in 2008.
See Dalio’s full letter explaining his giving pledge:
Ray & Barbara Dalio Giving Pledge Letter