Application, please

6 Aug

This is cool. From MSNBC the other day:

40 billionaires pledge to give away half of wealth

Gates, Buffett lead campaign to persuade America’s wealthiest to donate their fortunes

More than three dozen of America’s wealthiest individuals and families have joined Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in agreeing to give away at least half their fortunes to charity.

The announcement was made Wednesday by The Giving Pledge, an effort officially launched by Gates and Buffett earlier this year to persuade the richest people 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.

In addition to Buffett and Gates — America’s two wealthiest individuals, with a combined net worth of $90 billion, according to Forbes — 38 other billionaires are taking the give-it-away pledge. They include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, media mogul Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.

Full article here.

It’s an admirable effort. I’d love to see some effort made by the people involved in this massive giving to communicate the idea that this is not just something that the super-rich can do. Many Americans think it’s up to the wealthiest among us to support the nonprofit organizations that do so much for our communities and our world. But really, it’s something all of us can and should do.

We may not have fortunes to give away, and certainly giving away half of what we have is impossible for most of us. But most of us can offer five or fifty or two-hundred dollar gifts now and then (once a month would be a wonderful gesture) to agencies that benefit the common good. It would make a big difference.

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