Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced his plan to give away his entire fortune in the coming years at a news conference in Riyadh on Wednesday.
“With this pledge, I am honoring my life-long commitment to what matters most — helping to build a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world for generations to come,” Alwaleed told reporters.
Alwaleed is thought to be the 20th-richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg, with a fortune of $30.5 billion.
Alwaleed, a member of the Saudi royal family and nephew to late King Abdullah, has gained an international reputation for his business ventures and unusually open public comments. He founded Kingdom Holding, a Riyadh-based investment holding company, in 1980. It went on to become well known in the United States for investments in technology companies such as Twitter and Apple. He has also made a personal investment in Islamic study centers around the world, including one at Georgetown University.
Educated in California, Alwaleed is U.S.-influenced in his business thinking — he was involved in a feud with Forbes magazine because he felt it underestimated his wealth. His decision to give away his fortune is inspired by a similar pledge by American billionaire Bill Gates. His charity group, the Alwaleed Philanthropies, has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carter Center, founded by former president Jimmy Carter.
“Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith,” Alwaleed saidWednesday, pledging to donate his entire wealth to the Alwaleed Philanthropies for the purpose of “intercultural understanding, supporting needy communities, through health promotion, eradication of diseases, provision of electric power to remote villages and hamlets, building orphanages and schools, and much more, as well as providing disaster relief and empowering women, youth and poverty alleviation.”