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The Giving Pledge: Billionaires Committed to Bringing Change

The sad truth about most developing and third-world countries in the world is this – there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor. There are countries where there are both billionaires and millionaires spending their wealth on maintaining lavish lifestyles and poor families who can’t even have a proper day’s meal. Bridging this gap is essential for the overall development of the world. The good news is that the wealthiest people in the world have a lot to give. They can give to others without sacrificing their lifestyle. This is what The Giving Pledge is all about.

The campaign does not involve pooling money in any way – it is only asking the individuals to pledge their wealth and give it for philanthropic causes during their lifetime or after their death and have it executed in their will.

Urging the wealthy to give more.

The Giving Pledge is a campaign founded by two of the world’s richest people in the world – Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. The campaign aims at encouraging the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to help those in need. Not just by giving a small percentage of their wealth, but committing to give most of their wealth for charity.

The focus on this campaign, which was made public by Buffet and Gates in 2010, is especially on billionaires. As of April 2012, more than 80 billionaires around the world had taken the pledge to commit at least half of their wealth for philanthropic causes. The number went up to 127 billionaires or former billionaires after their donation and included wealthy individuals as well as couples. An aggregate of the total wealth that the wealthiest people in the world had committed to this cause was around $125 billion. The pledge requires the donors to offer their wealth anytime during their lifetime or after the death of the pledged donor.

The beginning.

The idea for The Giving Pledge came up sometime in 2006 after Warren Buffet met with Bill Gates and committed most of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The two billionaires met up a couple of times after that, along with other billionaires, at dinners they had organized for would-be donors. The attendees list during these dinner meetings included Kenneth and Elaine Langone, Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest, John and Tashia Morgridge, and John and Ann Doerr.

Marguerite Lenfest had proposed during the meeting that the rich people should determine how much money they really need for themselves and their children and then decide what they want to do with the rest. The advocacy campaign was finally made public in 2010. At that time, Gates and Buffet both announced the list of people who they intended to contact for joining the group.

The campaign to reach out to the wealthy around the world.

The Giving Pledge campaign started in the United States but soon spread out to other countries. Buffet announced that he had plans to meet wealthy individuals from India and China to discuss their participation in the campaign, hoping that the idea of generosity will spread around the globe. He, along with Bill Gates, visited India in 2011 for spreading awareness about the campaign and to encourage wealthy Indians to participate in it. Buffet apparently also visited French millionaires Liliane Bettencourt and Arnaud Lagardere, who refused to join the pledge.

The who’s who of the billionaire community pledge to give.

The list of people who have currently pledged to give most of their money to philanthropic causes includes the biggest names across many industries. Among those who have committed to spend their money for charitable causes include Bill and Karen Ackman, Paul Allen, Azim Premji, David Rockefeller, Sidney Kimmel, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas and Melody Hobson, Walter Scott, Jr., Steve Bing, Stephen M. Ross, John Caudwell, Paul E. Singer, George P. Mitchell, Tom Monaghan, Chuck Feeney, Alfred E. Mann, Mark Zuckerberg, Ted Turner, and Victor Pinchuk among others.

Generosity with a goal.

The idea of setting up The Giving Pledge campaign was to direct the wealth committed by billionaires or former billionaires after they have committed to philanthropic causes was to direct the wealth to specific causes. The Giving Pledge campaign will not only get billionaires to dedicate most of their wealth for philanthropic causes but will also chalk out where exactly the funds will go and how they will be distributed.

“The goal of The Giving Pledge campaign is simple – to invest in philanthropic causes in an open manner and encourage others to do the same in their own way.”

For more information about this great cause please visit The Giving Pledge.


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