The Giving Pledge is giving headaches to those keeping score in the world of billionaire charitable activity, according to a Business Insider report.
The Giving Pledge, a signed, public donation plan, was begun by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett and states those who sign it will give away at least half of their wealth to charitable causes by the time they die.
Tax breaks, apparently, are making it tough to part with their wealth.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has said he wouldn’t necessarily wait.
“People wait until late in their career to give back,” Zuckerberg said in a Giving Pledge press release. “But why wait when there is so much to be done?”
Insider reported that Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have doled out only 6% of the wealth they had accrued at the time they signed the pledge.
His money is working for him, making him so much money right now.
Insider found Chuck Collins, from the Institute for Policy Studies, coauthored a study that says the first 62 Giving Pledge signers’ wealth doubled between 2010 and 2020.
Among the loopholes, Insider cites this, a donor-advised fund (DAF) within the tax code:
“… Take an immediate income tax write-off of up to 30% of your adjusted gross income, and then donate the money … whenever. … Since DAFs were introduced in 1991, a new study found, (account holders’) portfolios have soared to $140 billion, while … contributions that wind up reaching actual charities has fallen by nearly 25%.”
There isn’t much to spur the billionaires.
“We here are providing a service for the wealthiest folks in the country in order to create the perception of giving,” a former DAF manager in Silicon Valley told Recode as part of Insider’s story, adding that these funds can be used to “suck away from the tax basis, without actually guaranteeing that any of this money is actually going to go out to serve society.”