« »

Thursday, February 5, 2015

128 billionaires to give away their money

The Giving Pledge
The Giving Pledge is a philanthropic effort by billionaires
A total of 128 billionaires have pledged to give away 51 percent or more of their wealth away during their lifetimes according to The Giving Pledge. This is the Buffett pledge, also known as “the $600 billion challenge”, and the “Giving Pledge”. This philanthropic drive originally began when billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates hosted a meeting in 2009. According to Fortune, that meeting was used to promote philanthropy among the nation's wealthiest people.

The inspiration for increasing subscriptions to the Buffett Pledge is simple. Doing good for the world in a way that isn't filtered through the byproducts of corporate profit-making. In Buffett's case, it has been a theme and motivation throughout his life according to the Wall Street Journal. Moreover, what is interesting about the existing signatories to the pledge is their pre-existing interest in philanthropy as well. This is evident in Fortune's coverage of the pledge, which states all the billionaires who have signed on, were already charitable people to start with.

Among the billionaires that are taking part in the Giving Pledge are Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, and  Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. The complete list of subscribers to the pledge can be viewed at the Giving Pledge website and includes several notable contributors. Individuals who feel there are not wealthy people in this world who are also benevolent can take heart from the examples set by these generous individuals.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have not failed to follow through on their pledges either. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $26.194 billion to charities since 1994. In 2011, Buffett, a contributor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation per CNN Money, also donated $41.6 million in stocks to eight unnamed charities according to the Huffington Post. Moreover, CBS News reported that Buffett has also challenged Senate Republicans to donate money by claiming he would match every dollar donated, and triple every dollar donated by the leader of the Grand Old Party in the Senate.

A similar principle to Buffett's pledge of philanthropy underlies “the Buffett Rule," a legislative concept that requires individuals with net worth over one million dollars to pay more taxes. Moreover, according to the White House, the Buffett Rule mandates that “No household making more than a $1 million should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.” Reuters reports this rule became part of a piece of legislation that would have put a 30 percent minimum tax on millionaires.

Image license: Hans/Pixabay; US-PD