The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.
George Lucas Family Foundation
$1,128,455,107 to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools
Back in 2010, Bill Gates and Warran Buffet challenged their fellow wealthy Americans to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. One of the many individuals to accept the challenge was George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars. To help facilitate his philanthropy, Lucas combined several of his pre-existing charity groups into George Lucas Family Foundation.
While the Lucas family started giving to charity long before the Giving Pledge was a thing, they have since made it a part of their mission to promote it.
The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals to offer up most of their wealth through philanthropy efforts and causes. It does not dictate how the money should be spent, nor does it make it an obligation. Still, 184 people from 22 different countries have already signed on to it, either as individuals or as couples, with most of the signatories pledging over $365 billion.
In 2012, Lucas sold Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company for a reported sum of $4.05 billion and so began George Lucas’ true life’s work.
Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum displays his collection of illustrations and pop art, with an estimated value of more than $1 billion.
In 2005, Lucas gave US $1 million of $120 to help build the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at the National Mall in Washington D.C. to commemorate American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
$180,000,000 to USC alma mata
The largest single donation to USC and the largest gift to a film school anywhere in the world.
Lucas began his philanthropy in 1991 when he founded the George Lucas Educational Foundation to celebrate and encourage innovation in schools.
The Educational Foundation set out the improve how K-12 students learn and develop their knowledge, attitudes, and the skills they need to thrive in their studies, careers, and their adult lives. This included the Edutopia web portal which offered the transformational integration resources, comprehensive student assessment, integrated study, project-based learning tools, and social and emotional learning solutions required to successfully reach those goals.
Most of this aid comes in the form of multi-year grants that range from a few thousand dollars to a half-million or more. Some of the schools and instructions they helped over the years include Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of Colorado, University of Washington, and the University of Southern California (USC) Film School.
In 2005, Lucas rebranded the charity as the George Lucas Family Foundation to expand his philanthropic endeavors.
Film, Arts, and Culture
While Lucas and his wife Mellody made it clear that the focus of their philanthropy is education, they have since expanded to promote development in other related fields. Most of their arts and culture work has been preserving Lucas’s own collection of illustrations, pop art, props and movie memorabilia, which has an estimated worth of $1 billion. To achieve both, the foundation runs the Lucas Musem of Narrative Art near the USC campus. Beyond their own artifacts, the charity supports cultural institutions such as the new Smithsonian African American Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Canyon Cinema Foundation, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Basic Human Services
The George Lucas Family Foundation supports several human service efforts as well, but they almost always have an education theme. The foundation already has pledged over $64 million to more than 200 organizations around the country, with a general focus on the Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.
Many of these organizations help or support:
• Childhood development and mentorship
• Medical research and outreach
• Gun control
• Cultural diversity
• Faith-based resources
• Refugee Aid
• Inner-city youth
• Environmental and wildlife initiatives
| Visuals by George Lucas Family Foundation, Peekasson,