Gates and Buffett urge billionaires to give away half their money

Saturday, April 5th, 2014 By

Bill Gates on stage at a conference

Bill Gates and his philanthropy partner Warren Buffett announced a campaign Wednesday to convince America's billionaires to give away half their money to the charities of their choice. Flickr photo.

Billionaires giving money away isn’t so unusual. When the billionaires giving money away are Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, it’s good, but old, news. But when billionaires Gates and Buffett call out their fellow billionaires to pledge 50 percent of their fortunes to charity, people notice. The billionaire philanthropists announced a campaign Wednesday to persuade America’s billionaires to sign a “Giving Pledge” to donate most of their wealth to the causes of their choice.

The Gates Buffett charity pledge

The latest Gates Buffett charity drive is called “The Giving Pledge.” The Associated Press reports that the two men, who have become friends and philanthropic colleagues, are asking the super-rich to sign a pledge making a public statement that they will donate either during their lifetime or at the time of their death to the charities of their choice. Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in a letter introducing The Giving Pledge that he couldn’t be happier with the decision he made in 2006, when he gave 99 percent of his roughly $47 billion fortune to charity.

Billionaire philanthropists

Buffett’s billionaire philanthropy will eventually split most of his shares of his company between five charitable foundations, with the largest sum going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Reuters reports that Bill and Melinda Gates have so far given more than $28 billion of their money to their foundation. Since the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation began in 1994, it has given away more than $22 billion for health improvements in poor countries and to improve access to education and career opportunities for Americans.

The billionaire list

On the billionaire list, Bill Gates had held the title of world’s richest 14 of the past 15 years. He was beat out for number one on the billionaire list in 2010 by Mexican tycoon Slim Helu, whose fortune swelled by $18.5 billion in 12 months to an estimated $53.5 billion. Gates is now ranked second richest man in the world with $53 billion, while Buffett came in at No. 3 with $47 billion.

Will billionaires give money away?

The U.S. has at least 400 billionaires — the most in the world — with a net worth Forbes estimates at $1.2 trillion.  If Buffett and Gates could convince America’s billionaires to give half their fortunes to charity it would transform the nature of philanthropy. Fortune, which broke the story, reports that IRS facts for 2007 show the 400 biggest taxpayers had a total adjusted income of $138 billion, and just more than $11 billion was taken as a charitable deduction — about 8 percent. If all the billionaires give money away, however unlikely, about $69 billion would flood the coffers for the common good.

Gates Buffett charity goals

The campaign began just over a year ago, when Gates and Buffett — who represent a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — invited several billionaires to a secret dinner meeting in New York. MSNBC reports that the group settled on a goal of 50 percent of net worth. They set up a website, givingpledge.org, to promote the campaign. If the individuals on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans pledged half their net worth to charity, that would amount to $600 billion.

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This post has 8 comments

  1. Christiaan Pearson says:

    My name is Christian H Pearson. I am living in South Africa. I have a friendly request and asked your understanding and support. You received many of this kind of letters on a daily. The reason for this letter is to help me to stand on my feet again. I am divorce and my beloved wife took everything about 4 years ago. She leave I have only a mattress , fridge and curtains in my house. I really struggled every months. I request just a small donations to help , to pay off my house . So that I can take the house money and buy furniture for my house. In south Africa currently I asked for is R 250 000-00 ( 42 000 Dollar ). It is much cheaper to pay my house as to rent a place .I have 10 years to go. R 250 000-00 is the cheapest house that one can buy. I hope that you can help my I humble request . If you can help my, belief my a will be every glad, so that a can carried on with my life My Email address is : chrisp@matjhabeng.co.za

  2. emu says:

    Dear Billionaire's , please help me to buy my own house. i'm tired of living in one room rented house with no shower and kitchen. please i want to have my own shower , kitchen and reading room for my baby boy. i am working but my monthly salary is 179 USD. so i can't buy a house. i need around 15,000 USD to buy one small house. GOD bless u all, hagere2003@gmail.com

  3. SadieBryan says:

    Dear Sirs,
    I will be straight up with you. I am in need of some teeth. I Would like to have the implant dentures but can not afford them, also, badly in need of a car. I work for 28 years as an omelet chef and was forced to retired of disability. Waiting on that I use my saving to live off of.I have my disability now and medicare do not pay for teeth.
    Thanks,
    bryansadie@yahoo.com

  4. kimlienphan says:

    Dear my famous!__My family really need help. We in really in hard situation. I got 2 little kids. I want to work but, the money not enough for pay the daycare.So I stay home and take care my kids. My husband make just $1300.00 per month. The spend of my family really narrow. I really to have some money for open a nail shop. I’m bankrutcy a few years ago, so i can’t loan any money. If you can not support my money for my bussiness. So please you can help me any money. That’s make me all happy and appreciate all my life. I really tire for hunt free money online. I try every day for free money help__ I’m waiting for your help. Thanks.

  5. linda johnson says:

    Dear Mr.Gates and Mr. Buffet
    Iim a single parent trying to put my daugther in college and work all at the same time but it is very hard I'm been strugle for over 5yrs now,and now that my job is going federal it's some thing on my credit that need to be fix for me to my job and i don't have the money to get everything fix while I'm trying to put my daughter through school and all my other bills to.I also have another daughter that i have to pay my aunt to keep while i work I don't ask for much just a little help so i can stop worry if my landlord going to me out I'm doing what you call a rent to own I been here now 3yrs after my husband died and i had a lot of bills after he died so if you can help me it will be blessing to be on top for the first time in my life.I'm not asking for much just enough to get out of this strugle that I'm in. My god bless you and you family.

  6. April says:

    Dear Mr. Buffet,

    My husband and I are two ordinary people. We have worked hard. I went to college majored in Human Services and worked as a Residential Counselor in a group home serving the troubled teen population.
    I have been unemployed for over a year. I lost my job due to the state budget cuts. Right now we live an apartment where the ceiling in the kichen has holes in it and there is mold growing in the walls.
    My husband and myself have always been the people to help others out. We don't even have a Christmas tree because last year the one we bought we found out that someone didn't have one so we gave them the one we just bought.
    Mr. Buffet my husband and I would just love to open a business here in NH and we know what it is. We want to open a doggie Daycare and then we want to open a rescue and have 1/2 of the profits that we raise from the doggie daycare pay for the operating cost of the rescue.
    We are not looking for a hand out but a hand up If you could help us out I would truly be grateful
    ajw11764@gmail.com
    Thank you,

    April Williams

  7. OLIVIA JORDAN says:

    DEAR MR GATES MY DADDY HAS WORKED ALL HIS LKIFE AND WE ARE IN NEED OF HELP TO START A BIZNESS. WE WANT TO START A SMALL TRUCKING PLACE . SO WE CANE PAY OUR BILLS AND DADDY WANTCS TO SEND US TO COLLAGE WHEN WE GETR OLDER.PLEASE HELP OLIVIA

  8. Frank Dourlain says:

    I work as a Paramedic and my wife works as a Nurse, we have been in an uphill battle for many years to be able to make our bills and keep our house. We are down to one vehicle that is in fair condition. I am not asking for you to give away your money as like me, you have worked for it. I would like some ideas on how to improve my life financially. I have a few dreams that I would like to fulfill before my time here has ended. My family has always been motivated towards education. We have children, one in college. I admire your success and would like to find some success myself. I never give up, I just dont know where to start. If you can help in any way, please respond to medic15301@gmail.com Thank you for your time.

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