American philanthropy is rapidly changing, with implications for social causes not always clear.
A prime example is the 81 ultrawealthy Americans—so far—with a combined net worth of some $400 billion, who have joined Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in pledging to commit the majority of their assets to philanthropic causes.
Over time, commitments by the current participants in the Giving Pledge could result in an estimated $200 billion or more to charity, according to Foundation Center. This compares with 76,600 grantmaking foundations in the U.S. that currently hold an estimated $646 billion in assets and give $47 billion annually.
This week, the center rolled out a new tool on its website to monitor the pledgers’ activities as part of its 2020 strategic plan to encourage greater transparency in philanthropy.
Eye on the Giving Pledge contains profiles (a few still incomplete) of the 81 individuals and families who 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 media coverage.
Of particular interest is the inclusion with each profile of an archive of 990 forms, which charitable foundations must file with the IRS every year.