40 U.S. Billionaires Pledge Half of Fortunes to Charity

Aug 4, 2010
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are leading the charge to give back. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Imagine if the richest people in American donated half of their wealth to charity.

What would the impact be?

Maybe there would be a cure for HIV/AIDS or enough funds for every child around the world to get a proper education.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are telling Americans that imagination can be reality.

The billionaire pals pledged to give half of their fortunes to charity and persuaded 40 more of America's billionaires to follow suit.

Titled The Giving Pledge, their endeavor invites America's billionaires to donate half of their wealth to the charities or philanthropic causes of their choice.

Reported by MSNBC, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is part of the billionaire give-back pack.

He says of The Giving Pledge: 

If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing—by far—is to support organizations that will create a better world for them and their children. And by giving, we inspire others to give of themselves, whether their money or their time.

Among others pledging to give back are legendary filmmaker George Lucas and media mogul Ted Turner.

In George Lucas's pledge, he wrote, "I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race."

Lucas has already made an impact on education in America by starting The George Lucas Educational Foundation.

The vision of the Foundation is of a new world of learning. "A place where kids and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve, all are empowered to change education for the better."

Ted Turner wrote in his pledge:

I'm putting my resources and energies toward tackling the worlds more important issues. The three problems that concern me the most are the threat of nuclear annihilation, climate change and the continuing growth of the world’s population.

In 1998 Ted Turner gave the United Nations the monumental gift of $1 billion to start the United Nations Foundation.

His contribution has helped the United Nations address global issues such as children's health, women's rights and sustainable development.

Just think if all of the 400 wealthiest Americans on the Forbes list pledged half their wealth. According to Fortune Magazine, an astonishing $600 billion dollars would be given to charity.

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