We may not have Batman, Superman, or Spider-Man running around doing good deeds, but America does have a group of super wealthy super heroes. On Wednesday, 40 of the nation’s most affluent citizens joined monetary forces with a promise to donate at least half of their wealth either during their lifetime or after their death. The movement was started in June by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates when they initiated The Giving Pledge website. Gates and Buffet are the second and third richest men in the world with an estimated combined income of $100 billion.
The Giving Pledge does not collect money from participants nor does it support any particular cause. Instead, it is a moral commitment that encourages individuals to donate to the charities of their choice. Though there is no legally binding contract, each contributor is asked to write a letter of intent to be included on the website.
According to Buffet, many supporters have committed to donating more than 50 percent of their means. Buffet himself pledged to give 99 percent of his riches to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities. Other billionaires joining the pledge include Haute 100 members Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Ronald Perelman, David Rockefeller, Gorge Lucas, Barry Diller, Larry Ellison, John Doerr, and John Morgridge.
In his letter of intent Perelman states, “I can think of no greater example as to why giving now and seeing the benefits first hand can be the single most rewarding thing any of us can do. I support this pledge for up to half my assets to be designated for the benefit of charitable causes.”
George Lucas states his own individual concern in his letter, “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race.” Indeed, these altruistic men and women may not wear superhero costumes, but they are heroes nonetheless.
A full list of billionaire donors can be seen at http://www.thegivingpledge.org/.