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Taking the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge

Today’s launch by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett of the giving pledge is a big step forward for philanthrocapitalism. Indeed, it marks philanthrocapitalism’s coming of age as a movement, with the Gateses and Buffett as its activist leaders. They are challenging every billionaire family in America, and ultimately the world, to pledge in a public letter to give away at least half of their wealth. Those who do so will be invited to brainstorm with the Gateses and Buffett about how to be more effective philanthropists at an annual “Great Givers” summit, the first of which is likely to take place in October.

The idea first started to take shape in May last year at the secret meeting of leading philanthropists in New York that we have blogged about and which we write about in the preface to the paperback of Philanthrocapitalism (which, happily, is now out on kindle, at last). The Gateses and Buffett will be talking about the giving pledge tonight on the Charlie Rose show.

The launch of the giving pledge comes at a time when the rich are generally viewed more sceptically in America than in many years, and in which philanthrocapitalism is being questioned like never before (see this New Republic editorial, for example, or Diane Ravitch’s latest book on education reform). Yet, as readers of our book know, we think that in these tough economic times there is more need for philanthrocapitalism than ever before, and are delighted that the Gateses and Buffett have decided to play a more active role in promoting it.

In the book, we report Bill Gates’s estimate that only around 15% of the wealthy who could be giving away substantial amounts of money are doing so, though he believed that this would eventually rise to around 70%. Here’s hoping that the giving pledge will help this dramatic shift happen.

0 replies on “Taking the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge”

It’s a grand idea that the rich are finally coming together. The minds and the attitudes of the rich have often caused me to wonder how they were the chosen ones. How does one who is part of the “have nots” group, honestly, can be happy for those ,who have selfishly gotten richer and richer, without considering to help those less fortunate. I still don’t believe that their money will be distributed where it is greatly needed. I am hoping to see lots of funds placed in areas where students will have the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally, without worrying about how to pay for their trips.

hi. could you please tell us how we could be partisapants of these billionaires giving funds to help little people out who are over 70 yrs. old, who need some help to get out of debt. and to have some kind of life left to live the american dream.please help us thanks and bless you all for helping other people around the world. respecfully yours early and shirley dawn

This coment is for Mr. Buffett my friend filed a patent 10 years ago but unable to find some one to put it out all business men want to do is steal his idea the largest company in his field got him in contract then deicide to not pay him anymore but they would keepit it cost more money to get it back then it was to patent it. My question is how do you deal with these kind of people obviously you do not have this problem you are too rich. But this product meant every thing to him and now is getting to old to ever see it sucessful and to tired. Can you give me some ideas how to deal with companies that have every thing and want more.

A friend of mine read about “The Giving Pledge” and thought of me. Why? Because my dream/passion/goal is to start a Farm Animal Rescue. This has been my dream for many years. I downsized my career as an independent consultant with a cosmetic company and moved from So. Calif. to Colorado so that I could attend Bel-Rea Institute to become a Vet Tech. I am attending to get the knoweldge and experience I will need to start the rescue and work with the animals. Well, here I am holding on to my dream and attending school (I believe I am the oldest student at school). My intent is to have an education center on the property where local families and school schildren can come to get in touch with animals, learn to respect them, learn about them and how we work together on this earth helping each other. I could go on and on. Do you think someone could give me guidance and possibly assistance to help me help animals and to education manking. If you would like to call me (303 699-7777. Thank you so much for taking time to read about my dream……Fay Hamelin

SPECIAL thanks for your most inspiring program! I have no money and only give my time in volunteer jobs, but found your ideas so profound and touching. I am an immigrant who has always greatly admired the incredible generosity of Americans. My best wishes for your new project. Sincerely yours, Maryell Semal

I think this is a great initiative. Basicly they are only giving away money they don’t need so others can bennefit.

To all people above who seek money for somekind of thing: The fact you are able to read this blog tells me you are wealty enough.

I REALLY THINK THIS IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE. I REALLY THINK WE SHOULD FIRST HELP PERSONS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY HELP FIRST. AND THEN MORE OF US CAN HELP OTHER COUNTRIES. I LIVE IN A VERY VERY POOR AREA OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY VIRGINIA. WE LACK MANY OF THE BASIC NEEDS TO SUSTAIN LIFE. LACK OF INDOOR PLUMBING, LEAKING HOUSES NO DECENT DRINKING WATER AND THE LIST GOES ON. BEING ALMOST 66 YEAR OLD IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME TO CONTINUE CLIMBING THE ROOF LOOK AND TRYING TO FIND LEAKS. PEOPLE JUST DO NOT HELP ONE ANOTHER ANYMORE. WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR HAND-OUTS BUT JUST SOME MOST NEEDED HELP FOR MYSELF AND MANY OF MY POOR NEIGHBORS. I HAVE BEEN TRYING FOR 13 YEARS NOW JUST TO GET A LITLE HELP THE COUNTY HERE SAY THEY HAVE NO MONEY OR NO ONE AVAILABLE TO HELP. I WAS ADVISED TO GO LIVE WITH ANOTHER OLDER PERSON WHO IS IN THE SAME SITUATION AS I AM IN. THIS IS AGAIN AN EXCELLENT IDEA. I THOUGHT MANY TIMES TO GET A GROUP TOGETHER WITH NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS, BUT I DON’T THINK I WILL GET MUCH SUPPORT.

Every action of an individual produces a result. In the case of these individuals who have joined the ‘Giving Pledge,’ they, most likely, will not see much of how their generosity will change the lives of others for the good. When Providence gives to each of us, all of the harvest is not ours to keep…it is to pass on to help someone else, who, at the moment is the receiver. It doesn’t always have to be about how much money one has, but in the true giving of one’s self. I say ‘thank you’ to the ones who understand and believe that GIVING is more rewarding than RECEIVING. Congratulations to those who enter into the ‘Giving Pledge.’

I Think it is wonderful to give. But who do they give to? Usually big organizations who say they will help other people, but they don’t take the bulk of that money and help anyone but themselves. Rich have been giving to organizations for a long time and we are still worse off than before. I just wish for once that they would help the people who really need it. They have all these organizations that appear to help people but in reality they really don’t. I would love to go back to school since I have been out of work for a while, and I can’t. I can’t support myself, go to shcool when I can’t even find a part time job. Trust me I have tried. I also get sick of people saying that people don’t try…sometimes it just hasn’t happend and no one is to blame!

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