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