Billionaires Pledge to Donate Half Their Fortunes

Bill Gates, billionaire and former CEO of Microsoft, is trying just as hard to change the world through philanthropy as he did through computers. Gates recently convinced over 30 billionaires to give away half of their fortunes to charity.

Gates has been a very active philanthropist in recent years, giving money to and promoting many charities and groups, including initiatives to combat malaria and improve green technology. This latest move encourages other wealthy people to donate to charities of their choice.

"The Giving Pledge is an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death," according to the cause's website,

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet presented a list of people who had committed to the "Giving Pledge," a promise to donate at least half of their wealth to charitable causes. Of the 40 signers, more than 30 are billionaires.

The signers of the Giving Pledge are not legally obligated to give their money away, but signing the Giving Pledge and being publicized as doing so is certainly incentive for signers.

"The 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," reads the website.

The list of signers is quite impressive, too. It includes many people from the tech world, such as Oracle founder Larry Ellison and internet media conglomerate owner Barry Diller, as well as plenty of other recognizable names, such as famous director George Lucas and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Each signer is required to publicly declare their involvement and submit a letter to the website explaining the reasons behind their decision to sign the pledge.

The Giving Pledge, sponsored by Gates and Buffet, was only announced a month and a half ago, so this is an impressive start. The Gates Foundation, Gates philanthropic organization, will be holding dinners at which current signers will try to persuade other wealthy people to join the Giving Pledge.

While it may be just a publicity stunt for some signers, if even just a few of them follow through either out of true generosity or peer pressure, the results will mean billions of dollars for charities.