Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pledge to Give Away half of fortunes Stirs Debate


WITHOUT a doubt, the biggest event in philanthropy this year was the Giving Pledge, a commitment by 40 of the wealthiest Americans to give away at least half of their fortunes, about $600 billion.

The goals of the pledge, which was organized by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren E. Buffett, were to stimulate discussion about philanthropy among the ultrawealthy and unleash a wave of me-tooism among others that would bring about “the Second Great Wave of Philanthropy,” in the words of Sean Stannard-Stockton, a blogger and philanthropic consultant.

Now, about three months later, the pledge has not yet visibly inspired new major gifts or attracted additional signatures — Mr. Buffett said he expected more soon — but has surely created discussion and debate, about the wealthy, their giving and what it says about our society. [...]

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