Stephen A. Schwarzman, the CEO of The Blackstone Group (BX), has committed to giving a majority of his wealth away to charity when he dies by signing The Giving Pledge, the billionaire investor told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive on Wednesday.
The Giving Pledge was created in 2010 by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates as an “open invitation” to billionaires “to publicly commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy,” and to “set a new standard of generosity among the ultra-wealthy.”
In a letter to Bill Gates, Schwarzman wrote that “Although plans for my estate have long reflected the principles of the Pledge, I am joining because I think it’s an important signal to encourage others to step up philanthropically as well.”
The 72-year-old private equity guru is listed as the 100th richest person in the world, and has an estimated fortune of $20.7 billion, according to Forbes.
In the last 35 years, Blackstone has evolved from an upstart advisory shop to a global behemoth with $571 billion in assets under management, with lines of business across industries such as real estate, private equity, hedge funds, and credit.
“Blackstone’s success has changed my life in innumerable ways by giving me the means to pursue many interests, including a variety of philanthropic pursuits,” Schwarzman wrote.
To date, Schwarzman has given over $1 billion to philanthropic causes, most of which focus on education at all levels.
He’s provided tuition assistance to inner-city high school students, endowed a prestigious fellowship at China’s Tsinghua University, and gifted $350 million to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build out a college dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence.
“In philanthropy, as in business, I enjoy tackling complex challenges that require thoughtful, innovative solutions,” Schwarzman wrote in the letter declaring his pledge.
“The game-changing nature of my major projects has required substantial financial support, as well as my personal long-term involvement. Each project is a unique partnership where I bring to bear the full extent of my knowledge, network, and time to ensure that the new organizations are positioned to meet their objectives as best they can,” he added.