40 Billionaires Pledge 50 Percent of Wealth to Charity

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the wealthiest people in the world, have convinced at least 38 American billionaires to donate no less than half of their wealth to charity.

The Giving Pledge, a charity effort launched by Gates and Buffett in June, announced the pledges by the billionaires on Wednesday, with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison among those who vowed to use their wealth for philanthropic purposes. Others who have made the moral but not legally binding pledge were media mogul Ted Turner, Star Wars director George Lucas, and InterActiveCorp chairman Barry Diller.

Buffett, well-known for his charity work, expressed happiness for the early success of The Giving Pledge. “At its core, the Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used,” he said, “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 percent minimum level.”

The Giving Pledge does not require would-be donors to immediately part with their wealth, as they have the choice whether to give their pledges during their lifetime or after their death. If all of America’s roughly 400 billionaires would join the effort, The Giving Pledge could collect around $600 billion, according to an estimate made by Fortune magazine.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.