Would You Give Away 50 Percent?

Bill Gates & Warren Buffett

By now you may have heard about The Giving Pledge. It is a movement started by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage other billionaires to pledge to give away at least 50% of their wealth. They want to encourage the richest people in the world to commit to charitable giving either while they are living or upon their passing. And they want each person or family who takes the pledge to make their pledge public and ask their peers to do the same. The goal: increased funding for philanthropy across the globe.

People taking the pledge are not asked to give to any specific charity or cause – they are simply asked to give. It is not a legally binding pledge but rather a morally binding one.

The idea grew out of a series of dinners hosted by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet over the course of a year. Many of their peers have already made very substantial gifts and pledges. Now they are asked to publicly affiliate with others who are doing the same. The idea is for billionaires to inspire conversations with their peers about their giving, their intentions, and what they are learning through the process.

The impact will be felt for generations to come. When the Giving Pledge was announced earlier this month there were 40 billionaires who had signed on. These include 14 from California, 12 from New York, two from Texas and Georgia, one from Missouri and Michigan. Here are what a few have to say.

Michele Chan: Our passion, our mission is to transform health and health care, in America and beyond.

Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor: “We want to leave our kids a different kind of inheritance…we pledge the bulk of our assets to philanthropic activities carried out over the course of our lifetimes.”

Jim and Virginia Stowers: “More than 99% of our wealth will go to philanthropy during our lifetime or at death. We have already started our giving.”

Finally, here is what Vicki and Roger Sant have to say. “Our support of various not for profit organizations has given us enormous satisfaction particularly where we have been personally involved with the boards or committees of those institutions.”

We call special attention to their quote because it highlights the value people receive when they give their time and money. If you work or volunteer with an organization or institution do not be embarrassed to ask others to join you in giving their time, money and resources. Giving is an important part of life whether or not you are a billionaire. Think about this: you can make your own giving pledge. It doesn’t have to be 50% of anything. What it should be is a moral commitment you make to yourself. Do it. And ask others to join you. Together we are creating the world we want to live in.

To learn more about the Giving Pledge visit www.givingpledge.org.


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