Billionaire givers and their giving Pledge
About 40 billionaires have signed on to ” The Giving Pledge”,” a charitable initiative started by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates . Each has made a commitment to give the majority of their wealth to the causes and charities of their choice.
Forbes estimates there are 403 billionaires in the U.S. Some, including a talk show host, haven’t commented publicly on the pledge, and others, including a California gubernatorial Candidate, -reportedly have declined.
You don’t have to be a billionaire – or even have money — to help others. Here’s how you can find volunteer opportunities in your area.
The Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic campaign started in June 2010 by American billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates .The official website states that it “is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.” As of August 2010, 40 billionaires in the US have joined this campaign and pledged to give 50% or more of their wealth to charity; among these are people such as Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, Ted Turner and Barry Diller. In addition Larry Ellison founder of Oracle Corporation, Standard I. Weil former CEO of Citigroup, former CEO of citigroup, Pierre Omidyar founder of eBay and film maker George Lucas were among the ones who joined the pledge. By making the pledge the donors are promising a collective sum of at least 5 billion. According to the pledge the donation can happen either during the lifetime or after the death of the donor. The pledge is a moral commitment to give not a legal contract. The list of donors includes Jon Huntsman, Sr., Barron Hilton and David. Buffet said that he would meet wealthy individuals in India and China to talk about philanthropy and stated that they hope the idea of generosity will spread. He stated “We’re hoping that America, which is the most generous society on Earth, becomes even more generous over time.”
The campaign was started in June to convince US billionaires to give away at least half of their fortunes either during their lifetimes or after their deaths.
“We’ve really just started but already we’ve had a terrific response,” Mr Buffett said in a statement.
He added: “The Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used.”
Those who pledge their money to “philanthropic causes and charitable organisations” must publicly state their intention through a letter of explanation.
Other billionaires who have pledged large sums of their money include film producer George Lucas, philanthropist David Rockefeller and oil investor T Boone Pickens.
“I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race,” Mr Lucas wrote in his Giving Pledge letter.
The organisation says many of the donors have committed to donating sums far greater than the 50% minimum level.
“While the Giving Pledge is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from efforts in the past and at present that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds,” says Givingpledge.org.
I’ve long stated that I enjoy making money, and I enjoy giving it away”, said T.Boone Pickens Oil investor.
Mr Buffett along with Mr Gates and his wife, Melinda, held numerous dinners with US billionaires in the past year to promote the campaign and urge America’s financial elite to pledge.
Mr Buffett, the chief executive of the investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, pledged 99% of his money to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities in 2006.
Forbes Magazine estimated Mr Buffett’s wealth at bn (£29bn) in March.
Bill Gates, who Forbes rates as the world’s second wealthiest person, has also given away more than bn to his foundation.
The billionaire investor Warren Buffett has donated .6bn (£1.05bn; 1.5bn euros) to the charitable foundation created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.
In all, he donated shares worth .93bn to five foundations.
The rest went to foundations set up in the name of Mr Buffett’s late wife, Susan, and their three children.
Mr Buffett, who owns the investment company Berkshire Hathaway, pledged in 2006 to give away 99% of his wealth.
This year’s donation is higher than the figure of .5bn donated in 2009 because Berkshire Hathaway has improved its performance.
Mr Buffett is a trustee of the Gates Foundation, which supports projects including polio eradication, micro finance and university scholarships.
The Gates Foundation employs 830 people and spent bn (£1.97bn) last year (2009).
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation provides scholarships for American college students.
Mr Buffett still holds about .9bn of Berkshire stock, or 23.3% of the total outstanding, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.
In 2006, Mr Buffett made the largest philanthropic donation in US history, giving bn to the Gates Foundation.
In June, he and Mr Gates called on American billionaires to pledge at least half their wealth to charity.
Following their charitable donations, Mr Buffett and Mr Gates are now the world’s second and third richest men respectively, behind the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim