Forty of the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States have committed to returning the majority of their wealth to charitable causes by taking the Giving Pledge. Warren Buffett announced the first group approximately six weeks after kicking off the long-term charitable project with Bill and Melinda Gates.
“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. “At its core, the Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used. 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.” [BE: emphasis mine]
Wealthy supporters from throughout the country have come forward to join the pledge. A full list of those taking the pledge and personal pledge letters by many of these supporters outlining their commitment to give is available online at www.givingpledge.org.
The Giving Pledge 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. The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract, and it does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations.
While this program is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from other efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and backgrounds.
A few statements from participants:
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. That is why we are so pleased to join in making
an explicit commitment to the Giving Pledge.”
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.”
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.”