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Daniel Kaufman

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Philanthropy for All: Take The 1% Giving Pledge

Posted: 08/11/10 04:41 PM ET

By now, you likely have heard about The Giving Pledge, Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's campaign to get billionaires to commit to give 50% of their net wealth to philanthropy. This morning, Stephanie Risa Stein authored an editorial on the Huffington Post about the Giving Pledge, arguing that the giving pledge shouldn't be limited to the very wealthy.

We at the One Percent Foundation couldn't agree more. That is why we started a movement to encourage people, particularly those in their 20s and 30s, to give 1% of their income to philanthropy. We are democratizing philanthropy. Now, we invite you - regardless of wealth or age - to join us. Take the 1% Giving Pledge to commit to give 1% of your income to charity. For those of you that can give more, please do! But the 1% Giving Pledge is a commitment that anyone can make, and we hope you will join us.

It's extraordinary that Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet are using The Giving Pledge to motivate billionaires to give large amounts. It is critical, however, that we don't abdicate our philanthropic responsibility and leave giving solely to the very rich. We, ordinary donors, can make an enormous impact if we act in concert and make smart giving decisions. For instance, take the One Percent Foundation's target audience of individuals in their 20s and 30s. If every one of them donated 1% of their income, this would amount to about $16 billion for charity every year. To put this in perspective, the Gates Foundation gave about $3 billion last year. By acting and giving collectively, we can meaningfully fund the organizations, ideas, and innovation that we care about, and change the culture of philanthropy.

Stephanie Risa Stein suggested an Everyman Giving Pledge. This is a component of what the One Percent Foundation does already for individuals in their 20s and 30s. Spurred by her post, we invite others to join us in making a 1% Giving Pledge. If you don't know where to give and want to be part of a nationwide, online giving circle of Millennials, you are welcome to join the One Percent Foundation itself. But otherwise, just sign the 1% Giving Pledge to become part of a movement to democratize philanthropy.

We can change the culture of philanthropy so that everyone is empowered to be a philanthropist. If everyone participates, we can dramatically increase the amount of money available to fund good ideas that reflect the average donor's passions, interests, and perspectives. This pledge is a good first step.

Making the 1% Giving Pledge is as simple as it sounds: just commit to give at least 1% of your annual income to philanthropy. Take the 1% Giving Pledge now, and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. Philanthropy is for everyone. Let's prove it.