The world of philanthropy got a huge financial boost today as more than 30 American billionaires pledged to give away at least half of their fortunes to charitable causes, signing up to a campaign launched by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
In an unprecedented mass commitment, top figures including New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, the hotel heir Barron Hilton, CNN media mogul Ted Turner, and the Star Wars director George Lucas lent their names to the “giving pledge”, an initiative founded last month to encourage America’s richest families to commit money to “society’s most pressing problems”.
The pledge is not a legally binding contract but is described as a moral commitment. Buffett, the legendary Nebraska-based financier known as the “sage of Omaha”, welcomed the influx of support: “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 that.”