How to Qualify for the New Billionaires Club
Do the names Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates mean anything to you? I bet you thought about a lot of money. This terrific trio has started a new club for the super rich, and there are only two requirements to join;
- You have to be a billionaire.
- You have to be willing to give half of it away.
In an interview on 60 minutes, the trio was asked about this club they call ‘The giving pledge’ and if it were necessary that the members commit to donating half of their fortune. The answer was a definite “yes”; Melinda Gates said that the members all agree to give away half in their lifetime or in their will. Buffet added “We don’t find a lot of people asking why we don’t want it to be 40%…way over half are going to give a lot more than half”. Buffett himself is donating 99% of his fortune. The Gates’ have pledged 95% of theirs.
In this, what has become known as the ‘golden age of philanthropy’, where the rich are just getting richer, ambitious and targeted social action campaigns have been geared towards those whom have produced vast fortunes. To date, some 130 billionaires have signed up for The Giving Pledge. Some have inherited the wealth, but most are self-made thanks to the Silicon Valley, dotcoms, rising global markets and successful tech innovations. All combined, they have pledged over a half a trillion dollars.
This exclusive club has a members list like no other – Elon Musk, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard and Joan Branson and so on.
Go to givingpledge.org for a complete look at the members, their profiles and to review the pledge letters.
When the trio were asked if there are any conditions on where the pledge money goes, the answer was a surprising ‘no’. Bill Gates said that the club wishes to celebrate the diversity in the philanthropy. They are learning from one another. In a group largely made up of entrepreneurs, the ideas and also the mistakes are fodder for annual seminars held in remote resorts for the members. Even the most successful billionaires can learn a thing or two about how to give effectively. So far, the agendas are varied; climate change, water quality, pandemics. The Gates’, for example, have set out to eradicate polio worldwide.
Rest assured, this group has the power to shape the future, has the money to make things happen and is set out to change the world for the better.
For more on The Giving Pledge, go to TED Ideas Worth Spreading.