Saturday, August 7, 2010

Billionaire Giving - Something that We Can and Should Aspire To

I was insipired the other day.  If you missed it, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett convinced 40 other American Billionaires (so far) to give away at least half of their fortune. Can you imagine what the world would be like if more people were to do that?

In a nod to my liberal friends... personal giving only goes so far, if you pooled the money and focused it on a few things, you could really make a large impact (that I get).  But at this magnitude, each one could make a big difference and not in areas that the government feels is important (such as international aid or infrastructure) but giving to things that people have forgotten, like art museums, symphonies.  The things that build culture and the things that people will write about in history books.

It inspired me to make a lot of money so that I can give it away someday.  For me... I'd probably give away money for liberal arts education (yes I have two liberal arts bachelors degrees - economics and political science and am pursuing my Masters in Public Policy which is also liberal arts).  I feel that people are encouraged to go into "hard" fields... accounting, engineering, etc.  These are great fields, but they don't teach you (or I should say challenge you) to think broadly and across.

One of the things that I've noticed is that I think a lot differently than others.  I want to encourage others not to be afraid and to think differently themselves.

Here is the list so far:

The Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge: The Full List of Donors

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced today that 40 signers, including billionaires and other rich families, had signed the Giving Pledge–a promise to give away more than half their fortunes. The following is the list of pledgers. (Click here to see the list, and you can click on each name at that website to see their pledge letters)
List of Pledgers:
Paul G. Allen
Laura and John Arnold
Michael R. Bloomberg
Eli and Edythe Broad
Warren Buffett
Michele Chan and Patrick Soon-Shiong
Ann and John Doerr
Bill and Melinda Gates
Barron Hilton
Jon and Karen Huntsman
Joan and Irwin Jacobs
George B. Kaiser
Elaine and Ken Langone
Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest
Lorry I. Lokey
George Lucas
Alfred E. Mann
Bernie and Billi Marcus
Thomas S. Monaghan
Tashia and John Morgridge
Pierre and Pam Omidyar
Bernard and Barbro Osher
Ronald O. Perelman
Peter G. Peterson
T. Boone Pickens
Julian H. Robertson, Jr.
David Rockefeller
David M. Rubenstein
Herb and Marion Sandler
Vicki and Roger Sant
Walter Scott, Jr.
Jim and Marilyn Simons
Jeff Skoll
Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor
Jim and Virginia Stowers
Ted Turner
Sanford and Joan Weill
Shelby White

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