Monday, July 12, 2010

The Giving Pledge

I read an article in Vanity Fair on "The Giving Pledge:"  It's the Bill Gates-Warren Buffett effort to get their fellow billionaires to pledge to donate half of their assets to charity.

Gates and Buffett are perhaps the two best-known billionaires in the US, and so it's "mediatique" as the French say to have them be behind this effort.  Of course, both men are already known for considerable philanthropy, but this reaches beyond their current largesse.

It might be well, the article read, for the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to pledge to give away 50% of their humongous fortunes, but what about billionaires who only have one or two billion to their names?  How much giving is too much?

The article went on to say that Ted Turner had done something similar, though perhaps less concrete, when he tried to get his peers to give away much of their wealth some ten years ago when he made various very large philanthropic donations.  This goes further.  Here's how the Pledge's website explains it:

How many of the wealthiest Americans will follow the example of Turner, Gates and Buffett remains to be seen, but no matter how jaded one is, this type of giving is extra-ordinary in the best sense of the word.

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