Stephen A. Schwarzman, co-founder, chair, and CEO of private equity firm Blackstone Group, and Canadian business magnate Jim Pattison have joined the Giving Pledge, boosting to two hundred and six the number of individuals and couples pledging to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Schwarzman has given more than $1 billion to philanthropic causes to date, with most of it supporting education. Major gifts made by the private equity mogul include a $350 million commitment to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018 and a gift of $188 million to the University of Oxford in 2019. "I'm proud that many of my projects have prompted the philanthropic participation of others, either in terms of giving to the same institution or giving to a similar effort elsewhere," Schwarzman wrote in his pledge letter. "In this way, my philanthropy already strongly echoes the spirit and intended impact of the Giving Pledge. Although plans for my estate have long reflected the principles of the [p]ledge, I am joining because I think it's an important signal to encourage others to step up philanthropically as well."
"The way it works in our society is that as you get older, if you have wealth, it should be deployed for the benefit of others and the benefit of society," Schwarzman told Yahoo Finance. "I think it's important to get people on board with the concept of giving, the concept of helping others."
Pattison, CEO, chair, and sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group, Canada's second-largest privately held company, has made a number of major gifts, including one of C$50 million ($37 million) to the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan Foundation and a commitment of C$75 million ($56 million) to the St. Paul's Foundation for construction of a new hospital at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre in Vancouver.
"From as far back as I can remember, my parents taught me the importance of giving back, whether we had a little or a lot," wrote Pattison in his pledge letter. "I am pleased to be a part of a group dedicated to sharing their wealth in ways that will make significant differences in the future."