WASHINGTON - Forty US billionaires or their families pledged on Wednesday to give over half of their money to charity, according to a philanthropy drive organized by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and legendary investor Warren Buffett.
Apart from the Gates family and Buffett, those who pledged to donate include self-made billionaires such as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, pharmaceutical tycoon Patrick Soon-Shiong, Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Hollywood director George Lucas. The list also include David Rockefeller, who came from the storied Rockefeller family, and Barron Hilton, son of Hilton Hotels founder Conrad Hilton.
The wealthy families all participated in "the Giving Pledge," a donation drive launched by Buffett and Gates six weeks ago. The idea is to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in the United States to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or after their death, according to the drive's website.
A statement from the Giving Pledge website said "the pledge is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract."
Buffett, the founder of Berkshire Hathaway investment firm, said the drive has "just started, but already we've had a terrific response."