Giving Half

Some guys have all the luck. And some guys have all the dough…or at least it seems like it. I have to say I have a hefty appreciation for the super rich that are putting their money into making the whole world, not just their slice of it, a better place.

Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett have challenged a few hundred of the richest Americans to pledge half of their fortunes to their favorite causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

The Gates family already gives billions via their own Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a truly life-changing charitable organization dedicated to conquering some of the world’s worst poverty and disease.  The Gates have invested over 30 billion dollars there and vigorously support other charitable foundations.

In 2006, Buffett took the lead with his own pledge: to donate 99% of his wealth. He says he commits it “to benefit others who, through the luck of the draw, have received the short straws in life.”

At, the three titans of finance call upon other rich people to make a conscious commitment to giving a “majority” of their wealth to philanthropy…50% or better…and to go public with their pledges to motivate others to do the same. Worldwide figures suggest that there are about 1,000 billionaires in the world, and shy of 400 in the United States (the pledge challenge is currently focused on the richest of the US, with plans to reach out internationally in the future). If every one took up the challenge, it would represent about $600 billion for philanthropic and charitable causes (chosen by the donors) around the globe.

Don’t be discouraged or feel left out if your bank balance doesn’t fall in line with the Gates family or Buffett’s…the pledge was inspired by people like you and me. The final line of the official pledge is “We are inspired by the example set by millions of Americans who give generously (and often at great personal sacrifice) to make the world a better place.”

One response to this post.

  1. […] and their charitable donations are at an all time low through the past decade. When we think of The Pledge (when 40 of the world’s wealthiest people dedicated themselves to donating a minimum of half […]


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