Canva co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht have signed up to Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge, doubling down on their commitment to donate most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
Founded 11 years ago by Bill and Melinda Gates, the Giving Pledge invites the world’s wealthiest people to make a public commitment to donating more than 50% of their total wealth to philanthropy and charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.
For Perkins and Obrecht, it’s a continuation of their focus on making Canva a “force for good”.
The business commits 1% of its profits, equity, its team’s time and its product, to do some good in the world.
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That’s through allocating volunteer hours to staff, offering the premium product to not-for-profits free of charge, planting trees and supporting crisis relief efforts.
In September, when Canva raised $270 million in funding, the founders promised to dedicate the “vast majority” of their wealth to impact causes through the Canva Foundation.
The pair own 30% of Canva, thought to be worth about $16.5 billion.
“We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems,” the founders said in their pledge letter.
“We feel like it’s not just a massive opportunity, but an important responsibility and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that.”
The pair signed the letter “on behalf of the whole Canva team”.
While not the first Aussies to sign up to the pledge, Perkins and Obrecht join a small local cohort.
Andrew and Nicola Forrest became the first Aussies to sign up in 2013, and Leonard Ainsworth, founder of gambling machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure, signed on in 2017.