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EasyJet founder pledges to give £1bn charity

31 May 2017 News

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of EasyJet has reportedly promised to give more than half of his £2bn personal fortune to charity after signing up to the Giving Pledge.

In a story first published by Forbes Magazine, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of budget airline EasyJet said he had signed up to the Giving Pledge after being inspired by the pledge’s founder and Microsoft owner Bill Gates.

In a letter accompanying his pledge, Haji-Ioannou wrote: “My belief is that nobody has a monopoly on good charitable ideas, and the problems in our world will never all go away. So we have to keep helping, within our means, forever.”

Haji-Ioannou, a Cypriot-born magnate who founded budget airline EasyJet in 1995, was estimated to be worth around £1.95bn in the latest Sunday Times rich list published at the beginning of May. He is expected to give away around £1bn of that fortune, some in cash during his lifetime with the rest to be sold in assets through terms in his will.

In his Giving Pledge letter, Haji-Ioannou wrote that he will give the majority of his fortune to his own foundation which funds scholarships for young people to study at the London School of Economics and City University, supports entrepreneurs with cash prizes in conjunction with Leonard Cheshire, donates to charities supporting environmental charities including WWF and operates the ‘Food from the heart’ programme in Cyprus and Greece.

Haji-Ioannou said: “I have to admit I was inspired by Bill Gates when he called me personally before giving this pledge and I hope to be able to work with him and others in this group to give it an ever greater international outlook in the future.”

He joins a number of other UK-based billionaires including Sir Richard Branson, Ann Gloag, and the Sainsbury family in signing up to the Giving Pledge.

The Giving Pledge was created in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and American business magnate and philanthropist Warren Buffett. Over 150 of the world’s wealthiest individuals have now signed up to the pledge. 

 

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