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Social Issues
Bill Gates & Warren Buffett Get 11 More Billionaires To Donate Half Their Fortunes To Charity; Plus
September 19, 2012
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A couple of years ago, two of the wealthiest men in the world - Bill Gates and Warren Buffett - started an initiative called The Giving Pledge.

bill-gates-and-warren-buffett-get-11-more-billionaires-feature.jpgThe idea was to convince billionaires to give 50 per cent or more of their fortune to charity.

As of today, 92 billionaires have signed on including CNN founder Ted Turner, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The latest rich folks to add their names to the list are...

Charles Bronfman - Former Head of Seagram Co.

Reed Hastings - Chief Executive of Netflix

Gordon Moore - Co-Founder of Intel

Manoj Bhargava - Founder of 5-hour Energy

Dan Gilbert - Founder & Chair of Quicken Loans, owner of NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers

Peter Lewis - Chair of Progressive Insurance

Jonathan Nelson - Founder of Providence Equity Partners

Jorge Perez - Chair & CEO of The Related Group

Albert Lee Ueltschi - Founder of FlightSafety Intl.

Romesh Wadhwani - Founder of Symphony Technology Group

Leonard Tow - CEO of New Century Holdings & Claire Tow - Co-Founder of one of America's largest cable companies

In a statement, Bill Gates said "We've said from the beginning that this is a long-term effort, so it's exciting to see continued progress over the last two years."


"This new group brings extensive business and philanthropic experience that will enrich the conversation about how to make philanthropy as impactful as possible. Their thoughtfulness and deep commitment to philanthropy are an inspiration to me, and I'm sure to many others as well."

Many of the people who sign on to the project post letters on The Giving Pledge website, explaining why they're getting involved.

Here are excerpts from some of the letters.

Charles Bronfman
"Philanthropy is in the DNA of my family. My parents were both active participants in Jewish, local Montreal and Canadian charities. The dining table conversation was a place for discussing what was important to them in that is no surprise then, that each of us has contributed to society."

Peter Lewis
"The catch phrases that drive my life and philanthropy include: Enjoy every day; Think outside the lines; Risk, learn and grow; Ideas are easy, execution pays off; Constantly improve; Admit mistakes, fix them and move on; Problems are opportunities; Hard work makes winners."

Lewis said he would make donations to support initiatives that promote progressive think tanks, investigative journalism, and ethics in government. He also said he would fund efforts to change America's "outdated, ineffective marijuana laws."

Jorge Diaz
"I came to this country in 1968 without a penny to my name but with the hope of becoming successful and leaving some type of meaningful legacy behind... while I worked hard to get where I am, it would have never happened without the assistance of many individuals and institutions along the way... it is so very important for us, the lucky few, to contribute our resources to make this a better and more fair world."

Albert Lee Ueltschi
"...because I have been so fortunate in my professional life, I am now in a position to make certain the good fortune that was mine is given back to society in a meaningful way."

Ueltschi went on to say "I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer... You can't take it with you."

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Gates and Buffett are the world's second and fourth-richest people, respectively. Gates fortune is said to be worth $ 64.9 billion. Buffett's is valued at $47.5 billion.

Buffett plans to donate most of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to improve education and health care, and reduce poverty around the world.

You can see the full list pledgers and personal letters at

As well, Forbes Magazine has a special 30th anniversary edition coming out next month. Back in June, the magazine organized the Forbes 400 Summit, bringing together many of the wealthiest people in America to talk about philanthropy and why to give at all.

bill-gates-and-warren-buffett-get-11-more-billionaires-feature3.jpg161 billionaires and near billionaires got together at the New York Public library - everyone from Gates and Buffett to Oprah Winfrey and Jon Bon Jovi.

One of the highlights was a roundtable with six of the greatest philanthropists of all time - Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, Steve Case, David Rubenstein and Leon Black. Collectively, they have pledged or given more than $100 billion to charity.

Here's part of the conversation.

The other highlight was a ukulele duet for charity featuring Jon Bon Jovi and Warren Buffett.

You can read more about the summit here.


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