The billionaire co-founder of a Lancaster County (S.C.) company, along with his wife, have pledged to donate most of their money to charitable causes.
Ric Elias, the CEO of Red Ventures, and his wife, Brenda, signed The Giving Pledge, a campaign among the world’s wealthiest people to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
They were among 14 signatories announced Dec. 14.
In a letter outlining their reasons for signing the pledge, the Eliases said that they are grateful for the wealth they have accumulated and the opportunity to use that wealth for good.
“We write this letter with tremendous gratitude, both for the luck that has allowed us to accumulate wealth as well as the opportunity to use that wealth for the greater good. We also write this as a love letter of sorts to our children and our future grandchildren hoping to model the value of giving back and leaving the world in a better place for them,” the letter reads. “We hope to be able in our lifetimes and beyond to have some impact on those who have been less fortunate than us.
“We care deeply about providing a hand up through education and meaningful job opportunities. Our current giving has primarily been focused on providing education and training for underrepresented young adults.”
Ric Elias is the co-founder of Red Ventures, an Indian Land-based marketing and technological company that is behind multiple well-known brands, including Healthline and Medical News Today.
According to an August story in The New York Times, Red Ventures is valued at $11 billion, and since Elias owns more than 20% of the company, his net worth is over $2 billion.
Elias, a native of Puerto Rico, is also a survivor of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, the plane that landed in the Hudson River in 2009.
He became well known for his TED Talk, “3 Things I learned When My Plane Crashed.”
In his TED Talk, Elias said he developed a sense of purpose from that experience.
“I no longer want to postpone anything in life, and that urgency, that purpose, has really changed my life,” he said.
The couple described themselves in their pledge letter as “deeply private people who decided it was time to be public” with their “commitment to future generations.”
“We recognize that by joining the Giving Pledge community we can learn from others and gain more proficiency in the areas of giving we still want to explore. We’re also eager to contribute to the worlds of foster care and mental health and look forward to the opportunity to make a difference in those areas as well,” they wrote.
Ric Elias has already been recognized for his philanthropy. He won a humanitarian award in 2015 for his work with undocumented youth, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Elias founded Golden Door Scholars, a nonprofit that connects high-performing undocumented students to educational and career opportunities, the Observer reported.
Like the Eliases, many of the 231 signatories of The Giving Pledge are billionaires. Among them are Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, and Elon Musk.
The Giving Pledge was created in 2010 by Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffet.