Billionaires give away money

More than three dozen of America’s
wealthiest individuals and families have joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
in agreeing to give away at least half their fortunes to charity.

The announcement was made by The
Giving Pledge, an effort officially launched by Gates and Buffett earlier this
year to persuade the richest people in America to commit to giving the majority
of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of
their choice, either during their lifetime or after their death.

In addition to Buffett and Gates —
America’s two wealthiest individuals, with a combined net worth of $90 billion,
— 38 other billionaires are taking the give-it-away pledge. They include New
York 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.

“We’ve really just started,
but already we’ve had a terrific response,” Buffett, co-founder and chairman
and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a statement. “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 per cent minimum
level.”

Bloomberg, who made his fortune
from financial news and information services company Bloomberg L.P., added:
“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.”

CNN founder Ted Turner said he felt
compelled to give back. “I’m particularly thankful for my father’s advice
to set goals so high that they can’t possibly be achieved during a lifetime and
to give help where help is needed most,” he said. “That inspiration
keeps me energized and eager to keep working hard every day on giving back and
making the world a better place for generations to come.”

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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett want to persuade more billionaires to sign up.
Photo: Sky News
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