Hearts of Gold: Forty Billionaires Pledge to Give Bulk of Wealth to Charity

Warren Buffett announces names of 40 of America's richest who have pledged to donate majority of wealth.Famed investor Warren Buffett Wednesday announced the names of 40 of America's wealthiest families and individuals who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, a charitable project that targets billionaires to pledge to donate the bulk of their wealth. From New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison, each of the individuals and families announced today have made a pledge to give the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice, either during their lifetime or after their death.

"We've really just started, but already we've had a terrific response," said Buffett, co-founder of the Giving Pledge, in a statement issued today. "At its core, the Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used. We're delighted that so many people are doing just that -- and that so many have decided to not only take this pledge but also to commit to sums far greater than the 50% minimum level."

A List of Luminaries

Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), announced this first group approximately six weeks after he kicked off the long-term charitable project with co-founders, Bill and Melinda Gates.

Each person who chooses to pledge the bulk of their wealth to charitable causes will make this statement publicly, along with a letter explaining their decision. The Giving Pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract. It does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. At an annual event, those who take the pledge will come together to share ideas and learn from each other.

In addition to Buffett, the Gates, Bloomberg and Ellison, other wealthy supporters include such billionaires as Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen; SunAmerica founder Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe; IAC/Interactive (IACI) chief Barry Diller and his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg; Ronald O. Perelman; David Rockefeller; Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay, and his wife, Pam; BP Capital Management's T. Boone Pickens; CNN founder Ted Turner and former Citigroup (C) Chairman Sanford and Joan Weill.

"Shrouds Don't Have Pockets"

"Our Pledge is this: We will continue to give away all of the wealth we have been so fortunate to make except for a very small percentage allocated to our children and grandchildren between now and the time we pass because we are firm believers that shrouds don't have pockets," wrote Sanford and Joan Weill in their pledge letter.

A full list of those taking the pledge and personal pledge letters by many of these supporters about their commitment to give is available online.

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September 16 2010 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow!!!! I work for one of his companies. Warren has truly forgotton the little man. What ever happened to his beliefs in taking care of his employees?? I guess its all about image> After 11 years I have finally opened my eyes to the company. They don't care.A corportation is all about the bottom line no room for honesty and loyalty.

September 14 2010 at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow.. when this was first seen "online" I was one of the first posters and no one was asking for a handout. Weeks later, I come back and "everyone" is asking for a handout. All the while, the billionaires are not reading this or caring who is in dire need. After watching what really happened to all the Katrina Victems.. sorry to say, charity begins at home. I am absolutely horrified and never even knew how bad it was in Louisanna until I watched the documentary. President Bush is a terrorist for turning his back on those who died on our soil. or should I say, in our waters!!!! Woman, young kids and elderly "died" because of no food or water for 5 days! Over 1,500 died from that hurricane. Weather was "clear" the very next day and yet it took 5 LONG agonizing days until help arrived. This took place in our country, imagine that! I am a white young disabled female and I say help the Katrina Victems if you can. I actually cried watching that documentary and president Bush was somewhat responsible. He was our president, was he not??

August 23 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I need some shoes (Imelda Markos).

August 06 2010 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really truely need my car fixed it needs tires oil change and brakes. I am on a orgabision called Free charity Cars.org in hopes of someday getting a car from them I am on social security disability so would be gratefully Blessed if any one of tou could help Cynthia Moore mooremr245@yahoo.com My thanks to you all

August 06 2010 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Please help me out . I am on SSI and barely make ends meet 242 Lourdes ct. cherryhill N.J. a charity in need is free charity cars.org thanks Cynthia Moore

August 06 2010 at 8:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why dont they give to the many needy families, people who say they give to charity seem not to really know where most of the money goes, so many poor families and grandma's in need these days, what a blessing that would be to get immediate help with finances or school clothing for children..Just where does their money go and to whom?

August 06 2010 at 7:23 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Linda Smith

I have a list of people who rush from hospital bed to bank to deposit under $10 to cover a mortgage, and others who take loans to cover their Utility bills. I see people dumpster diving. And this is the regular public, not the "needy". L.Smith

August 06 2010 at 7:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Linda Smith

Can there be a Charity for women who live alone, who need electrical work, house repairs, washer dryers, dental work, yard and tree work. Medical bills and no prescription medicine purchased, as no money. Just the basic people behind doors of modest homes and who pay for all sorts of help for "others" through payroll deductions and taxes, yet they cannot catch up themselves. L.Smith

August 06 2010 at 7:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To linmarco: that is the problem now, every thing has to go through goverment, so they can get their part twice or there times over. they are not worried about the little people or the big if you call it, its never going to change with the goverment for the better anymore if we don't take a stand for our selfs. we have to start to stand togeather for our nation. we run to aide for all other countrys; but who comes to our aide anymore. we are a free country we let anyone come here, and that was okay because we were a free country with freedom of speach and look what they do to us, they don't care and no respect and thats why amercians are going hungry, and on the streets, we have just let these other countries takewhat they want, now we have nothing, no work no money our country is in big debt. yes i say to the billionires help the amercian people we are not all been made to be billionaires there has been poor people since the beginning of time, so we should all stand togeather strong and help each other. PLEASE BROTHERS and SISTERS don't let our country go down we can help each other pick it back up on her feet again. love to all

August 06 2010 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply