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38 Billionaires to Donate

Half of Their Fortunes

to Charity



Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett said Wednesday that 40 of America’s richest people publicly pledged to give away at least half their money to charity, a move that could pump about $60 billion into the world of philanthropy.

Joining Buffett and Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates in the pledge are Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison; New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Tom Steyer, head of hedge fund firm Farallon Capital; and IAC/Interactive Corp. CEO Barry Diller.

The effort, known as The Giving Pledge, encourages the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving most of their money to philanthropic causes and charities, either during their lifetime or after their death. Each person who joins has to make the pledge publicly and release a letter explaining their decision. An annual event will bring the group together to share ideas.

Many of the people taking the step were already giving a lot of money to charity, but making public statements about their plans should encourage other rich people to do the same in the future, “It’s far more important that they tell people what they’re doing,” Buffett said. “It will influence other people 20, 30 years from now.”

George Lucas has publicly said “I am giving the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival for the human race.”

In a statement, Mayor Bloomberg said, "If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing ― by far ― is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children. And by giving, we inspire others to give of themselves, whether their money or their time.”

If we’re lucky, this announcement may inspire others to follow suit. As MSNBC points out, there are about 400 billionaires in America. That’s a lot of money to give, so who will be next to sign up? (http://givingpledge.org/#enter)



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