Yuri Milner

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda created the Giving Pledge in 2010 together with Warren Buffett. The billionaires’ vision was to set a new standard of generosity amongst the ultra-wealthy.

As of 2024, 242 of the world’s richest individuals have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to allocate most of their wealth to charitable causes. Amongst them are prominent tech entrepreneurs Yuri Milner, Brian Chesky, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Here’s a look at each entrepreneur’s impact on the world and their philanthropic efforts.

Yuri Milner

Yuri Milner is the founder of DST Global, an influential internet investment firm. Shaping the global tech landscape, its portfolio has included famous internet companies like Facebook, Spotify, WhatsApp, and Airbnb.

A former theoretical physicist, Yuri Milner believes humanity must embrace a shared mission to explore and understand our Universe. He discusses the value of investing in fundamental science and space exploration in his 2021 book Eureka Manifesto: The Mission for Our Civilisation.

The tech entrepreneur and his wife Julia joined the Giving Pledge in 2012. Their pledge centres on supporting science-focused projects to invest in our shared future. For instance, their Breakthrough Foundation supports the Breakthrough Prize, Breakthrough Initiatives, and Breakthrough Junior Challenge.

The Breakthrough Prize honours the world’s top researchers with awards of up to $3 million. To date, the Breakthrough Prize has awarded $308 million to leading scientists. Meanwhile, the Breakthrough Initiatives seek to answer some of humanity’s most profound questions through innovative space science research.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge invites students to explain complex scientific concepts with creative, original videos. Each Challenge champion wins a $250,000 post-secondary scholarship, and their teacher receives a $50,000 cash prize. Plus, their school receives a new science lab worth $100,000.

The Breakthrough Foundation also supports Tech For Refugees, which funds tech-powered programmes that aid refugees worldwide. Tech For Refugees’ partners include Spotify, Airbnb.org, and Uber.

Brian Chesky

Brian Chesky is the co-founder and CEO of Airbnb. Founded in 2008, the company has radically altered the hospitality industry, changing the way people travel and find accommodations worldwide. People booked more than 448 million Airbnb nights and experiences in 2023 alone.

In 2016, Brian Chesky signed the Giving Pledge to help more young people realise that their “limits are not so limited” and achieve the kind of success he has enjoyed.

Brian Chesky made a $100 million contribution to the Obama Foundation in 2022. The donation represents the single largest gift of the Airbnb CEO’s philanthropic history. The contribution helped the Obama Foundation launch the Voyager Scholarship for students interested in careers in public service.

The Voyager Scholarship programme provides students with numerous benefits. These benefits include free Airbnb housing to pursue a summer work-travel experience and up to $50,000 in financial aid.

Brian Chesky explains that the programme will broaden these future leaders’ horizons and give them the “tools and experiences that will shape their careers.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the co-founder of Facebook and its parent company Meta. It’s hard to overstate his impact on our world: His social networking innovations have transformed the way billions of people communicate.

Aside from his entrepreneurial success, Mark Zuckerberg is also a passionate philanthropist. He and his wife Priscilla Chan co-founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to solve some of society’s hardest challenges. CZI works to eradicate diseases, improve education, and address local communities’ needs.

For example, CZI launched the Community Fund in 2017, which supports organisations that work to create a fairer and more equitable San Mateo County. Recent grantees include Art in Action, Chicana Latina Foundation, Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse, and One Life Counseling Centre.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan were 2 of the original 40 billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge in August 2010. Their pledge letter explains that they “feel a deep responsibility to make the world a better place for future generations.”

The couple are also co-founders of the Breakthrough Prize, along with Julia and Yuri Milner, Anne Wojcicki, and Sergey Brin. The co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki signed the Giving Pledge in 2022.