Buffett, Gates ask rich Americans to donate wealth

Last Updated: Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 17:37

New York: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, two of the wealthiest people in the world, are urging rich Americans to pledge at least half of their wealth to charities.
Legendary investor Buffett along with Microsoft founder
Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates are leading an
initiative asking wealthy Americans to commit majority of
their wealth for philanthropy.

"Now, Bill and Melinda Gates and I are asking hundreds of
rich Americans to pledge at least 50 per cent of their wealth
to charity," Buffett has written in a letter titled `My
Philanthropic Pledge`.

The letter was posted on the website of `The Giving
Pledge` initiative, being led by the three of them. The US has
more than 400 billionaires, according to the Forbes magazine.

Well known for his wise investment decisions, the
79-year-old Buffett is the chairman of conglomerate Berkshire
Hathaway that has invested in diverse companies.

"More than 99 per cent of my wealth will go to
philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by
dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense,
though, many individuals give more to others every day," the
billionaire investor said.

In 2006, Buffett had pledged to give all the stocks he
owns in Berkshire Hathaway to philanthropic foundations.

Buffett said he has already distributed about 20 per cent
of his Berkshire shares and would continue to "annually
distribute about 4 per cent the shares I retain".

"At the latest, the proceeds from all of my Berkshire
shares will be expended for philanthropic purposes by 10 years
after my estate is settled.

"Nothing will go to endowments; I want the money spent on
current needs," the letter noted.

This year, Gates and Buffett were ranked as the world`s
second and third richest people, respectively, by the Forbes,
which pegged Gates` wealth at USD 53 billion and Buffett`s at
USD 47 billion.

Buffett said the pledge to donate wealth would not affect
his and his children`s lives. "They (children) have already
received significant sums for their personal use and will
receive more in the future....I will continue to live in a
manner that gives me everything that I could possibly want in
life," he wrote in the letter.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 17, 2010 - 17:37

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