Sara Blakely, the brilliant inventor of Spanx and the youngest woman to ever make Forbes‘ billionaire list, has joined a very exclusive club. Forbes reports that Blakely has just become the first female billionaire to join the Gates Foundation’s Giving Pledge, the philanthropic movement started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates that encourages the world’s richest people to give half their money to charity.
Blakely, a big supporter of women in business, signed the Giving Pledge in part to continue her philanthropic work empowering underserved women. Blakely and her company have already donated $17.5 million to charities that empower women and girls: “Since I was a little girl, I have always known I would help women. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would have started with their butts. I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America,” she said.
If there is ever someone you wanted in your corner, it is Blakely.
Spanx was an idea born out of having a problem: She hated that the seamed foot stuck out of an open-toe sandal or kitten heel, but she noticed that the control-top eliminated panty lines and made her tiny body look even firmer. She’d bought a new pair of cream slacks for $78 at Arden B and was keen to wear them to a party. “I cut the feet off my pantyhose and wore them underneath,” she says. “But they rolled up my legs all night. I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to figure out how to make this.’ I’d never worked in fashion or retail. I just needed an undergarment that didn’t exist.”