40 billionaires have pledged to give away half their wealth to charity. The idea of inviting wealthy Americans to donate their fortunes to charity was seeded at a discussion between Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the wealthiest Americans today. The plan was discussed between the two over dinner. During the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders' meeting in Omaha in the year 2007, they urged the American billionaires to give away fifty percent of their wealth to charity.
The effort that was initiated by Warren Buffet and Gates took the form of a huge campaign - the Giving Pledge; a pledge that boasts of a participation of over 40 US billionaires, who have come forward to donate their wealth to charity. The campaign is based on the philosophy of making a moral commitment to society and should prove to be an important step towards making the world a better place to live. Also, it's touted as the greatest modern philanthropic effort and one of its kind. More than the amount this campaign will raise, the impact it's bound to have on the world is huge and long-lasting. Let's hope it inspires many more countries to take a step towards creating a more equitable world.
With a combined net worth of $90 billion from Gates and Warren Buffet, the campaign has generated a whopping 130 billion dollars in the first 24 hours of its announcement. The Giving Pledge enjoys a wide participation from Americans and a large representation from all sectors. The billionaires who have signed the pledge include Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, Barry Diller, Ted Turner, and George Lucas from the media industry, Pierre Omidyar, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison from the technology sector, New York financier Ronald O. Perelman and hedge-funders Julian Robertson Jr. and Jim Simons from the finance sector as well as many business tycoons and big names from various industries. Many wealthy American families have also signed the Giving Pledge. According to the Fortune Magazine's analysis, if every billionaire signs the pledge, it would result in the accumulation of 600 billion dollars to be given for charity. Many more billionaires are expected to sign the Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge in the near future.
Even if they do it out of peer pressure or for publicity, the fact that they are donating money, which is from their own pockets, cannot be ignored. This philanthropic act is a display of the American spirit. Kudos to the Americans.