40 Billionaires Pledge to Give Away Half of Wealth

40 Billionaires Pledge to Give Away Half of Wealth

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Bill Gates Foundation photoMore than three dozen of the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States have committed to giving away the majority of their wealth to charitable causes, since the “Giving Pledge” was launched by fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett six weeks ago.

“We’ve really just started, but already we’ve had a terrific response,” said Warren Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “We’re delighted that so many people are doing just that – and that so many have decided to not only take this pledge but also to commit to sums far greater than the 50% minimum level.”

The United States has roughly 400 billionaires, about 40 percent of the world’s total, according to Forbes. The 40 names that have pledged to date have a combined net worth surpassing $230 billion, reports MSNBC.

Wealthy Americans from around the country, from energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens to media tycoon Ted Turner, have taken the pledge. A full list of those 40 families and individuals, along with personal pledge letters submitted by people like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, filmmaker George Lucas, and David Rockefeller, are available online at www.givingpledge.org

• Michael R. Bloomberg: “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.”

• George Lucas: “My pledge is to the process; as long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages. I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education.”

• Barron Hilton: “It is my hope that others are inspired by my father’s story, and by our family’s steadfast adherence to his charitable philosophy.”

• Warren Buffett: “Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks (Berkshire Hathaway stock certificates) on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others.”  

• Bill and Melinda Gates: “We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful. But just as these gifts are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well.”     

• Jon and Karen Huntsman: “It has been clear to me since my earliest childhood memories that my reason for being was to help others.”  

• George B. Kaiser: “I had the advantage of both genetics (winning the “ovarian lottery”) and upbringing. As I looked around at those who did not have these advantages, it became clear to me that I had a moral obligation to direct my resources to help right that balance.”  

• Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest: “The ultimate achievement in life is how you feel about yourself. And giving your wealth away to have an impact for good does help with that feeling.”  

• Lorry I. Lokey: “There’s an old saying about farmers putting back in to the ground via fertilizer what they take out. So it is with money. The larger the estate, the more important it is to revitalize the soil.”  

• Peter G. Peterson: “As I watched and learned from my father’s example, I noticed how much pleasure his giving to others gave him. Indeed, today, I get much more pleasure giving money to what I consider worthwhile causes than making the money in the first place.”  

• David Rockefeller: “Our family continues to be united in the belief that those who have benefitted the most from our nation’s economic system have a special responsibility to give back to our society in meaningful ways.” 

• Sanford and Joan Weill: “Our Pledge is this: We will continue to give away all of the wealth we have been so fortunate to make except for a very small percentage allocated to our children and grandchildren between now and the time we pass because we are firm believers that shrouds don’t have pockets.”

The Giving Pledge, which does not involve supporting a particular set of causes or organizations, is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest American families and individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. While it is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from other efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds.

COMMENTS

  1. Cheers to all. I am impressed, Although I realise you all understand that the natives are restless. Making this pledge is the right thing to do and very prudent. Things better turn around soon for us lower class folks.

  2. I am 52, from Brazil, and live in Miami. The main reason I love America so much, it is because of its charitable nature. At 9 years old, my father lost everything, but i was lucky, because we lived in a Farm, so i had nature to wander within wonder, and i loved books. Therefore i never suffered from the lack of money, plus i grew up with a sense of empathy and compassion. From 20 years old on, when i started working, every extra savings i had, it went to help others, to this date, i’ve helped people with more than USD 1,500.000.00, all in the name of empathy, compassion, because One must share, and money is not the meaning of Life! My only son, at 12 years old, is also an empathetic and compassionate Soul, he knows that we are here to serve others. We are very happy that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates started this Billionaire Giving Fund, and that many others are participating. What a beautiful chain of Giving! Gigi Schilling

  3. This news raises my waning hopes no end. As a life long non-profit organizer, fundraiser and “beggar on behalf of community needs”, I gotta say – these billionaires pledges are the quantum leap that’s been needed in social consciousness forever. For years I watched good folks give amounts that were a total stretch for their budgets, when they could have given $5.00 and felt justified. But they didn’t, they gave all they could to help folks trying to do some good on this earth. Just think how the coffers expand when folks with much larger incomes give what is a stretch for them. I’m so proud of all the people in this country who saw a need, decided not to tolerate it any longer, and DID SOMETHING, rich or poor or in between, it’s gonna take all of us and our grassroots ideas to save what is most precious. Thank you wealthy folks, what you’re doing will have an impact we can’t even imagine yet – true social security.

  4. [b]GoodNewsNetwork[/b]It all sounds well and good….let’s see where it goes!! How about to the shut-ins like my 87 yr. old Dad who can’t AFFORD to pay over $20 an hr to have someone come, only to see that he eats and takes his meds properly…to have someone to talk to besides me and my sister Every day. We work, and worry ourselves Sick about him….seems like noone really cares unless you have the Cash. It is a SAD thing that me…nearing retirement …I have nothing to look forward to, but giving what litltle I have saved and worked for all my life..only to have to give up Everything, INCLUDING, my home to be able to AFFORD home health care!!! It is a SAD state this country has come to!!!!!

  5. This is fantastic and I also hope that a good amount of the money stays here in the US. Would also be great if money could be used to help people help themselves. Giving people opportunities is a holistic approach that truly makes a difference for them and future generations. Here’s to the billionaires, thank you!

  6. I HAVE BEEN READING THESE STORIES FROM THESE BILLIONAIRES. I AM OF THE CONCLUSION THAT THESE FOLKS ARE VERY VERY SPECIAL INDIVIDUALS AND THAT IS WHY I SUSPECT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR LIVES..IT MAKES ME FEEL PROUD TO BE A HUMAN BEING LIVING IN THE WORLD WITH FOLKS OF THAT HUMAN NATURE..I FEEL BLESSED..THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE..I BELIEVE THAT YOU ALL ARE ANGELS OF OUR UNIVERSE…

  7. I would love to see the Lyme community manifest some $$$ to help us with treatment. I lost my home and many other things do to Lyme and other co-infections. Many r suffering. Babies,teens,adults etc etc. It takes your life away. Lyme is epidemic and not just given by ticks. It took me 23 yrs to get dxed. Blessings to you helping us. Especially with alternative treatments.

  8. Unlike the person whose comment I read above mine, I am wildly deliriously happy to hear about this initiative…. now lets see if we can encourage billionaires the world over to do the same… my pet peeve is the number of uber rich people in India to give away some of their riche to save their destitute and starving people..

    But great scheme.. shows that this is a real sign of the times and a shift in human consciousness… I for one am overjoyed to see this 🙂

  9. Wow. I have to say that I am duly impressed by each of your actions. You are showing true leadership, and helping each of us to remember the true universal principle of abundance. Thank you and may you be blessed ten times over for your generosity. With Harmony and Love Aria

  10. With all of their charitable contributions they could pay all student university tuition in the United States for the next 20 some-odd years. If you want change, try educating the populace. Ignorance is the route of all the worlds problems.

  11. I am looking for away first to raise 4k for treatments . this is my 5th bout of cancer and I have spent my savings getting well.i am single and I am not able t o work with very low energy reserves. e .I have created a healing series to help others which can be seen on my site.www.thebalancecoach.com

    I plan on creating a program that will assist myself first to provide money for medical expenses., . And is looking for another opportunity to create a non profit organization that will also help herself and others.

    Right now I am asking for funds to take care of my medical needs and my intention is to build a fund that will become perpetual and will take care of other peoples medical needs as they go thru their healing journey. Out of my campaign . If anyone has any ideas on ways to help me with any of this I would greatly appreciate it.

    warmly

    colette Feinberg

  12. Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett are great examples of what America stands for. People helping people. In such a rich country, we are still reminded daily about the struggle many people are having. I commend the idea you have come up with, and am very thankful to all who have chosen to participate. Thank you from all Americans.

  13. I’m impressed with their generousity. I know that I have only a little to give but even a little goes a long way. The individuals and couples named are to be commended and appreciated. I believe they are all remarkable and their pledges prove they are not greedy.