Elliott’s Singer Joins Spanx’s Blakely in Buffett Pledge

Warren Buffett & Bill Gates
Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett, left, returns a ball as Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, looks on during a table tennis match outside Borsheims Jewelry Company, Inc., in Omaha, Nebraska. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer and hosiery tycoon Sara Blakely promised to donate at least half of their fortune to charity as part of the initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates.

The two were joined by Lord Michael Ashcroft, Monica and David Gelbaum, Craig and Susan McCaw, Stephen M. Ross, Mark and Mary Stevens, Tad Taube and Samuel Yin, according to a statement today from the Giving Pledge campaign. With Joe Craft, who signed on last year, the Giving Pledge now has 114 signatories.

“Since I was a little girl I have always known I would help women,” Blakely, the founder of Spanx Inc., said in a letter posted on the Giving Pledge website. “In my wildest dreams I never thought I would have started with their butts.”

Bill Gates and Buffett, who are the world’s second- and third-richest people, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, started the campaign in 2010 to encourage philanthropy among the rich.

Buffett, now valued at $58.8 billion, gives about 5 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups each July. Gates, with a net worth of $71.7 billion, has gifted $28 billion to his and his wife’s organization.

“As a self-made man, I am determined that when I donate to charitable causes, the donation should not be frittered away or lay stagnant in a bank account,” Michael Ashcroft, who sold his cleaning and security business ADT to Tyco Electronics Ltd. in 1997 for more than $6.7 billion, said in a letter to the pledge. “I also prefer to donate to subjects close to my heart: for example, to fighting crime, to supporting education and to championing the military, in general, and gallantry, in particular.”

‘Strategic Individuals’

Singer, whose Elliott Management Corp. hedge fund had assets under management of $21.6 billion at the end of 2012, said philanthropists can nurture “good-but-neglected ideas” until politicians steps in.

“There is something about the power of creative, strategic individuals and groups to make a difference through targeted, timely interventions and actions that government simply cannot replicate,” he said in a letter.

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