Cyprus Mail

Easyjet founder pledges to leave half his fortune to charity

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is one of 14 new individuals added to the Giving Pledge, a charity programme set up by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010 that sees wealthy people contribute the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes, it was announced on Tuesday.

The Giving Pledge, which includes 168 signatories from 21 countries, saw 14 new individuals and couples added to its growing list of signatories, among them the Cypriot entrepreneur.

In addition to Haji-Ioannou, the new signatories are Australian Leonard H Ainsworth, Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji, Americans Dagmar Dolby, Nick and Leslie Hanauer, Dean and Marianne Metropoulos, Terry and Susan Ragon, Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, Robert Frederick Smith, and Harry H Stine, Chinese Dong Fangjun and You Zhonghui, Norwegians Anne Grete Eidsvig and Kjell Inge Rokke, and Slovenians Iza and Samo Login.

“Philanthropy is different around the world, but almost every culture has a long-standing tradition of giving back,” Melinda Gates said.

“Bill and Warren and I are excited to welcome the new, very international group of philanthropists joining the Giving Pledge, and we look forward to learning from their diverse experiences.”

According to a news release by the group, the Giving Pledge is “a global effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by encouraging the wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes”.

“Pledge signatories come together throughout the year to discuss challenges, successes and failures, as well as how to be smart about giving.”

According to a brief biography, Haji-Ioannou is “best known for creating easyJet in 1995 at the age of 28”.

“He also owns the ‘easy’ family of brands which is licenced to carefully selected partners (including the airline) in return for steady income,” the bio said.

“Stelios has also created his own philanthropic foundation on which he spends about one third of his time and a portion of his income every year in managing charitable projects mainly in the areas where he has lived and worked – UK, Greece, Cyprus (the birthplace of his parents) and Monaco where he lives.”

Every new individual added to the Giving Pledge is required to submit a letter stating the reason he or she wishes to join the group.

“My belief is that nobody has a monopoly on good charitable ideas, and the problems in our world will never all go away,” Sir Stelios wrote in his.

“So we have to keep helping, within our means, forever…”

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