Sheryl Sandburg, The Giving Pledge, and International Philanthropy

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and her husband, Dave Goldberg, have pledged at least half of their $1 billion fortune to charity. Sources say she will likely focus her efforts on international women's issues.

The Giving Pledge is a global initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates that aims to inspire the world’s wealthiest people to pledge their fortunes to charity while they’re still living.

This effort brings together high net-worth individuals in an effort to take on the world's most daunting societal challenges. Also joining this elite group of philanthropists are Ann Gloag OBE, Natalie and Paul Orfalea, and Craig Silverstein and Mary Obelnicki.

Although the signees themselves seem to betray a US/Euro-centric focus to the initiative, last year Patrice Motsepe, South Africa’s first black billionaire, became the first African to join Giving Pledge. And there are other signs that the culture of South African philanthropy is changing. The Five Plus Project, begun in 2013 by University of Cape Town law professors Hugh Corder and Anton Fagan, encourages "comparatively well-off" South Africans to give at least 5% of their income to alleviate poverty in South Africa. It now boast over 170 menbers.

Even if you cannot afford to be so generous, you can help encourage home-grown giving by nominating your own South African philanthropy hero. The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards are not merely about honouring those with a generous spirit, it's an effort to call attention to giving, in hopes that our Awardees will inspire other South Africans to give.

Nominations for the 2014 Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards are open until 30 June 2014. 

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