A year ago Bill Gates and Warren Buffett began hatching a plan over dinner to persuade America’s wealthiest people to give most of their fortunes to charity, and more than three-dozen individuals and families have agreed to take part, as was announced by campaign organizers recently.
According to Forbes — 38 other billionaires have signed the Giving Pledge, which gathered and gotten wealthy people to agree to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
They include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.
The United States has roughly 400 billionaires — about 40 percent of the world’s total — with a combined net worth of $1.2 trillion, according to Forbes. If they all took the pledge, that would amount to at least $600 billion for charity.
The 40 names that have pledged to date have a combined net worth surpassing $230 billion, according to Forbes. Several of them have said they plan to give away much more than 50 percent of their wealth. Buffett has promised to donate more than 99 percent of his wealth.
The pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting one cause or organization. It’s up to each person who signs the pledge how to distribute their wealth.