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40 Billionaires Pledge to Give Away Half Their Wealth to Charity

What do two of the world’s richest men talk about when they get together… the stock market, the global economy? Perhaps. But if you’re Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, you are also chatting about philanthropic causes. Each billionaire has pledged to give over half of their fortune to charity. Warren Buffett has promised to give 99% of his wealth away. Go Warren!

But why stop there? Gates and Buffett have asked about 80 of their fabulously rich friends to give away their money as well. It’s called the Giving Pledge.

According to its website…

“The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.”

However, the Giving Pledge is not a giving program. It is a “moral commitment to give, not a legal contract”. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.

Thus far, 40 families and individuals have taken the Pledge including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, media moguls Barry Diller and Ted Turner, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Star Wars movie maker George Lucas and energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens. So where are the rest of the U.S. billionaires? Gates and Buffett only approached about 20% of the wealthiest people in America. Come on… we’re watching you.

Here’s an interesting statistic. Time NewsFeed reports that if all the billionaires on the Forbes billionaires list participated, the total donation would amount to a whopping $600 billion.

What do you think of this new and improved Billionaires Club? Will they make good on their promises?

Follow Cindy on Twitter @ethicalbiz
Image credit: Thu Phuong via Flickr under a CC license

Written by Cindy Hoots

With more than 10 years experience working for a major Fortune 500 company, Cindy specializes in socially and environmentally responsible business strategies. She has developed successful corporate communications and stakeholder engagement strategies on contentious sustainability issues and has worked with a number of NGOs and activist organizations on how to effectively partner with multinational companies. Cindy frequently writes about topics ranging from what is corporate social responsibility to sustainable supply chain and measuring a company's environmental impact. She believes business plays a vital role in the health of our communities and our planet.


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