Peer Pressure Works on Billionaires Too

There's nothing like a little prodding from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to get rich people to part with their money—or half of it, at least. The pair has convinced over 30 of their fellow billionaires (and a handful of other millionaires) to sign the Giving Pledge, described on the pledge's website as "an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the wealthiest American families and individuals to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes."

Many of the pledge-signers are well-known. T. Boone Pickens, Jeff Skoll, George Lucas, Barron Hilton, David Rockefeller, and Michael Bloomberg are just some of the big names roped into the project. Of course, it's not as if each person on the list will simply give away half of their cash on an appointed date. Each pledge-signer has a unique plan, as detailed in their individual pledges (available here).

Barron Hilton's plan focuses on faith:

As one of Hilton’s principal shareholders, I decided to immediately pledge my proceeds of the sales—$1.2 billion—to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. In making the gift, I also pledged to follow my father’s example and donate 97 percent of my wealth to the Hilton Foundation. Today we concentrate on a few strategic initiatives: Safe water development, homelessness, children, substance abuse and Catholic sisters. We are constantly reviewing our practices while remaining faithful to the values and principles that guide us.

And George Lucas is giving his cash to educational initiatives:

My pledge is to the process; as long as I have the resources at my disposal, I will seek to raise the bar for future generations of students of all ages. I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future – and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children.

Many of these wealthy folks planned to give away most of their cash even before they signed the pledge. Larry Ellison makes a point of claiming that he planned to give away 95% of his wealth years ago, and is only now going public with his charitable deeds. And of course, the real motives of other signers can be questioned: having enough money to make it onto the pledge list is a status symbol in and of itself. Nevertheless, this is impressive stuff. If this pledge kick-starts even a few more multi-billion dollar initiatives, it will be worth it. Peer pressure can be a good thing after all.

[The Giving Pledge]

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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  • john louis Grantham

    Mr gates my name is john Louis Grantham I was in a accident. That busted my back and hip and leg I lost my job my insurance. And now about to lose it all. The kid did have insurance but my insurance was paying for it all so after the layer. An insurance. Got through with it I got nothing lol. I could realty use help please. If u would like to here the rest of my story u can call me at 479-561-4653 thanks an godbless

  • Abdul majeed hydara

     Hi greething's ,
                            I am Abdul majeed hydara from the gambia west africa . I am a student who is learning but for this moments i have been trough out because of money . I am very good at learning , Inteligent , hardworker , clever and discpline . I am with my mum here but we are poor so i am asking for help in other to finished my education , i am a collage school . Am asking in the name of god bill gates to assists me with money for my education please here is my number you can reach me here we talked +2203481292 here is my skype too majeed179 but called i will be very glad to hear your voice .

  • judy lapointe

    these billionaires are all suffering from severe mental illness and while we see a globe collapse they think they can solve global problems through their mental illness yet it's only an escalation of the collapse. For the most past non profits are designed to sustain all problems, food banks for example do not deal with the causes of why people need food in the first place and it's CAUSED by the mental illness of billionaires. Giving food away does not solve the causes, does not solve hunger problems - teach a man to fish so he eats everyday is a concept these billionaires can't wrap their brains around. They truly believe teaching a man to fish is teach a man how to be a slave and love it. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are the most severe cases as they are killing off the planet through vaccines instead of curing the causes of why we need vaccines in the first place which will always result by how they got rich in the first place. if only billionaires could heal their mental illness and help shift this hateful world experience into a global loving world that values all life