The billionaire philanthropist club whose members promise to give half their money to charity just grew in size with the inclusion of Sheryl Sandberg.
The Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, announced last Friday that she would be joining the ranks of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in promising to donate half of her substantial fortune to charity. Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea and Google’s Craig Silverstein have also joined.
About his new colleagues in charity, Warren Buffet said, “”They bring a wealth of expertise to the group. We will learn a lot from their experiences as we collectively aim to inspire one another to earlier and better giving.”
The 44 year old Sandberg is said to be only the second self made high tech woman billionaire after Meg Whitman. She has an estimated net worth of almost $1 billion and is sure to cross that threshold soon.
Sandberg has not yet released her formal pledge letter which outlines what a member of the club will donate his or her money to; however, she is expected to apply her largess to women’s causes. A well known advocate for the advancement of women into management positions, Sandberg is the author of Lean In: Women Work and the Will to Lead, which was a best seller.
Lean In tries to help professional women achieve their career goals. It deals with obstacles – which included blatant sexism – and the so called glass ceiling which prevent women in business from rising to the top. The book also deals with how married professional women in reality have two jobs in that when they get home at the end of the day they still have work to do.
However, the book was criticized by some feminists for what they said was giving women the wrong message. Sandberg herself was accused of simply promoting the corporate world.
A number of the group’s members just completed their annual gathering, held this year in Santa Barbara. They focused on a number of issues, including investing more in women and girls. Encouraging more young women to pursue fields such as engineering and computer science has been a hot topic lately. It is argued that teenage girls do not think about going into these professions only because of social definitions placed upon them by society.
Before Sandberg joined Facebook, she was the vice president of global on line sales and operations for Google. She previously helped start Google’s philanthropic organization, Google.org and once worked as the chief of staff for the US secretary of the treasury.
Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012. Sandberg has recently been reported to be divesting herself of her Facebook stock holdings, after making her fortune through the company’s IPO.
In addition to Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg also serves on the board of the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International and the Center for Global Development. She was also once a member of Starbucks’ board of directors.
Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is also a member of Warren Buffet’s campaign, as well as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Star Wars creator George Lucas. There are now 127 billionaires in 12 different countries who have signed on to the Seattle based campaign.