"For more than 10 years, I have given my friends and colleagues money to donate to their favorite charities in lieu of traditional holiday gifts," billionaire Ray Dalio said in his Principles newsletter on Thursday. "That way, the money goes to those most in need."
Dalio has even been known to send a blank check for the donation.
"It's not made out, with my signature, and then [those gifted] can fill in the charity," Dalio, founder of the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, told Arianna Huffington in December 2017. "There's so many charitable people. Just the slightest change can have a big impact and make people delighted."
Huffington said she received one of Dalio's blank check gifts, and called it "the best gift."
The only thing Dalio asks is that the person tell him what charity they donated to. "It tells me about their personalities," he told Huffington, "tells me about what they care about and why."
The resulting conversations about where they donated the money "are fabulous," Dalio said.
Dalio also works with nonprofit organizations DonorsChoose or TisBest Philanthropy to send gift cards for his friends to donate to the charities of their choice, he said. This year, for example, Dalio is giving $100 TisBest charity gift cards to the first 10,000 people who sign up, he said on Facebook on Thursday.
"There are no strings attached. My hope is simply that you will experience the joy of receiving a charitable gift rather than a traditional one, and you might consider giving charitable gifts to your friends, families and colleagues," Dalio said.
In 2003, Dalio launched Dalio Philanthropies, a foundation which has given away more than $5 billion.
"I believe that if people with plenty don't help people with little, especially at this time of year, it will end up being bad for everyone," Dalio said on Twitter in November 2017. "I recommend giving charitable gifts to charitable people during the holidays because they appreciate it and because that gets money to the people who need it the most."
Dalio is worth $15.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.