John McCall MacBain, a Canadian billionaire who made his money in classified advertising, has signed The Giving Pledge with his wife Marcy.
With the pledge, they have agreed to give at least half of their wealth to charity or philanthropic causes. The MacBains focus their charity works, the McCall MacBain Foundation, on education and scholarships; climate change; maternal health and wellness, and health issues in rural areas.
MacBain, a Rhodes Scholar with MBA and law degrees, started his classified business by buying three small advertising publications in Montreal in 1987. He built the business into Trader Classified Media, which published more than 500 print titles and 57 websites in 20 countries. The company was traded for a time on Nasdaq and Euronext Paris. McBain sold it in 2006.
His wealth was estimated last year at C$1.4 billion, or about $1 billion U.S., by Canadian Business magazine. In February he made a $200 million (Canadian) donation to McGill University in Montreal and in 2013 made a $120 million donation to the Rhodes Trust.
The Giving Pledge was founded by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett in 2010, and now has more than 200 signatories.