40 Billionaires Pledge to Donate Half Their Wealth

Forty of America's billionaires and their families have pledged to give more than half of their fortune to charity. Clockwise from upper left: investment guru Warren Buffett, Microsoft mogul Bill Gates, CNN founder Ted Turner, Hollywood director George Lucas, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It’s not often that you see the true power of philanthropy on a grand scale. Let’s consider ourselves lucky to see a movement like this in our lifetime.

From the AP:

Forty wealthy families and individuals have joined Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett in a pledge to give at least half their wealth to charity.

Six weeks after launching a campaign to get other billionaires to donate most of their fortunes, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. released the first list Wednesday of people who have signed what he and Gates call “The Giving Pledge.”

Buffett decided in 2006 to give 99 percent of his fortune to charity. Then, he was worth about $44 billion. After five years of investment returns while making annual gifts to five foundations, Buffett’s fortune totals nearly $46 billion.

Bill and Melinda Gates do most of their philanthropic giving through their foundation, which had assets of $33 billion as of June 30 and has made at least $22.93 billion in total grant commitments since 1994.

Between Operation HOPE opening regional offices in Atlanta to media mogul Ted Turner being among the first billionaires to publicly speak out on his contribution to the pledge, it’s been a good week for Atlanta’s charitable community. Others who have signed the pledge include filmmaker George Lucas and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

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5 responses to “40 Billionaires Pledge to Donate Half Their Wealth

  1. This is awesome! These folk are walking the walk instead of just giving lip-service for media attention.

    Love it!

  2. this is great. the bill & melinda gates foundation put me through college, and i’m glad they’re encouraging other billionaires to follow in their philanthropy footsteps

  3. This is really a very positive return to the “old-days” of philanthropy – Carnegie, Rockefeller & others who donated massive amounts of money for the common good. We seem to have gone through a period of “wealth gluttony”, where spending excesses were common place and philanthropy was not considered essential – “Let them fend for themselves”!

    I’m glad to see real results – i.e. Simon being put through college by the Gates Foundation. I think most people see the Gates Foundation as being focused on health issues outside the U.S.

  4. A stark realization has come to fruition amongst the super wealthy. That realization is that there was a huge cost for their quest to be among the most powerful men in the world. That cost is being played out in America and around the globe as the working class family is now tapping into their retirement funds just to secure food and shelter. In the U.S. that group of people truly are the “cash cow” for Corporate America and they have been systemically slaying that cow for the past 50 years. The “machine” continues to churn; however, these super wealthy beneficiaries see no good in what they helped create. Philanthropy is there “Salvation”!!

  5. This is a little strange… I am not sure we should take this announcement at face-value. I’m gonna look more into this.

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