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Secret Billionaire Meeting Revealed

This article was written by in Charity. 6 comments.


In May 2009, a group of the most powerful individuals in the world held a secret meeting to discuss the plans for their significant wealth. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett convinced David Rockefeller to to preside over the first of several billionaire meet-ups. Their idea was first to discuss philanthropy with like-minded individuals and determine how they could go about promoting the idea of giving wealth away to worthy charities and organizations.

Through several follow-up meetings, all closed to media, the billionaire cabal agreed in principle to encourage themselves and other super-rich individuals in the country to pledge to contribute 50% of their wealth throughout their lifetime or in legacy to charity. Fortune Magazine broke the story yesterday.

Bill GatesIf you want to keep current with who is pledging what, monitor givingpledge.org, which will be updated some time in the future with those who pledge to participate in this charitable challenge.

Let’s not forget that billionaires who give away 50% of their wealth will still be left with more money than they know what to do with. If they wish to leave a portion of their estate to children and grandchildren, there could be more than enough left over. Fortune estimates that 50% of the wealth of the top 400 wealthiest individuals in the United States could amount to $600 billion.

It’s easy to be jaded when hearing these large dollar amounts. The government recently invested over a trillion dollars in economic stimulus, and numbers like these have been in the news recently. $600 billion would have an amazing impact for philanthropic beneficiaries. There is a chance here to shape society in ways that a government could never do.

What about those of us who aren’t billionaires? Is giving away 50% of your net worth during your life time or at the time of your passing realistic? Well, giving away charity at that level during while you are living and accruing life-related expenses, like food and shelter, could be a challenge.

Will you join the pledge and donate half of your net worth to charity? Is philanthropy at these levels a luxury only the super rich can enjoy?

Photo: jurvetson

Published or updated June 17, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dan

I’ll join in a hearbeat! *They* would have to give *me* $43,000!

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avatar Tom Dziubek

I don’t suppose they gathered at a Comfort Inn and exchanged ideas over a free continental breakfast.

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avatar Mrs. Smith

I’m sorry… but half of nothing is still nothing!

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avatar Donna Freedman

One of the coolest things about having a lot of money would be giving a chunk of it away. My friend Linda B. and I used to amuse ourselves thinking what we’d do with the lottery. After securing our own futures and those of family/devoted friends, we decided we would travel and also drop in on a lot of our favorite charitable agencies:
What do you need?
How much would it cost?
Will you take a check?
And then on to the next.
That said: Real life is a little more complex. I am a freelancer who pays her own quarterly taxes, health care and retirement. If something were to happen to my main gig, I’d be living la vida skimpy while I scrambled to find more work.
Giving away half of my net worth, such as it is? Not going to happen. Unlike Messrs. Gates and Buffett, I have no fallback.
Sure do like the idea of giving a ton of money away, though. Instead of making checks to my favorite charities $25, it could be $25,000. And that’s AFTER being able to fly first class and buy the occasional rotisserie chicken instead of soaking dry beans. Dream on.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

I have given the “what if I mysteriously come upon a major windfall” scenario some thought, too, and I’d be interested in starting a foundation. Unfortunately, reality soon follows and silences those thoughts.

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avatar Thomas Beyer

I Think it is great for the rich to give away 50% of there fortunes. The people and organizations especially volunteer organizations could use help from those that have the ability to help them. I am 51 yo and do not really have much money at all but I do have one thing. I have the ability to help others, I have been a volunteer fireman for about 30 years and enjoy being able to help those in need when they have emergencies. I have also volunteered my time in other things as well. So while I can not help with money and I do appreciate those who do, I can make a difference with my being there in time of needs. Everyone should make a pledge to try to make a difference whether it be money or some of there time. What a different world it would be if we all did that.

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