Forty U.S. Families Take Giving Pledge

Wed Aug 4, 2010 10:18am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Billionaires Pledge Majority of Wealth to Philanthropy
SEATTLE--(Business Wire)--
Forty of the wealthiest families and individuals in the United States have
committed to returning the majority of their wealth to charitable causes by
taking the Giving Pledge. The announcement of this first group was made by
Warren Buffett approximately six weeks after kicking off the long-term
charitable project with Bill and Melinda Gates. 

"We`ve really just started, but already we`ve had a terrific response," said
Warren Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.
"At its core, the Giving Pledge is about asking wealthy families to have
important conversations about their wealth and how it will be used. We`re
delighted that so many people are doing just that - and that so many have
decided to not only take this pledge but also to commit to sums far greater than
the 50% minimum level." 

Wealthy supporters from throughout the country have come forward to join the
pledge, including the following 40 families and individuals. A full list of
those taking the pledge and personal pledge letters by many of these supporters
outlining their commitment to give is available online at www.givingpledge.org. 

Buffett will be joined in commenting on the announcement by three other
individuals who have likewise taken the pledge: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along
with husband and wife Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor. A media call and Q&A will take
place at 12:15 p.m., EDT on Wednesday, August 4, 2010. Dial-in information for
the call is (866) 901-4714 (toll-free) or (702) 599-4277 (int`l.), with
conference ID # 92438683. The call is open to all accredited media and will
focus uniquely on philanthropy and the Giving Pledge initiative.

The Giving Pledge is 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. The pledge
is a moral commitment to give, not a legal contract, and it does not involve
pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. While
it is specifically focused on billionaires, the idea takes its inspiration from
other efforts that encourage and recognize givers of all financial means and
backgrounds. 

Pledge Signatories

California

Eli and Edythe Broad 

Michele Chan and Patrick Soon-Shiong 

Ann and John Doerr 

Larry Ellison 

Barron Hilton 

Joan and Irwin Jacobs 

Lorry I. Lokey 

George Lucas 

Alfred E. Mann 

Tashia and John Morgridge 

Bernard and Barbro Osher 

Herb and Marion Sandler 

Jeff Skoll 

Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor 

Georgia

Bernie and Billi Marcus 

Ted Turner 

Hawaii

Pierre and Pam Omidyar 

Washington, D.C. / Maryland

David M. Rubenstein 

Vicki and Roger Sant 

Michigan

Thomas S. Monaghan 

Missouri

Jim and Virginia Stowers 

Nebraska

Warren Buffett 

Walter Scott, Jr. 

New York

Michael R. Bloomberg 

Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg 

Elaine and Ken Langone 

Ronald O. Perelman 

Peter G. Peterson 

Julian H. Robertson, Jr. 

David Rockefeller 

Jim and Marilyn Simons 

Sanford and Joan Weill 

Shelby White 

Oklahoma

George B. Kaiser 

Pennsylvania

Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest 

Texas

Laura and John Arnold 

T. Boone Pickens 

Utah

Jon and Karen Huntsman 

Washington

Paul G. Allen 

Bill and Melinda Gates 

Select Pledge Letter Excerpts

The following excerpts have been taken from letters written by pledge
signatories on their personal motivation to give. Please visit
www.givingpledge.org to view these letters and others in their entirety.

* Laura and John Arnold: "We view our wealth in this light - not as an end in
itself, but as an instrument to effect positive and transformative change." 
* Michael R. Bloomberg: "If you want to do something for your children and show
how much you love them, the single best thing - by far - is to support
organizations that will create a better world for them and their children. And
by giving, we inspire others to give of themselves, whether their money or their
time." 
* Eli and Edythe Broad: "Those who have been blessed with extraordinary wealth
have an opportunity, some would say a responsibility - we consider it a
privilege - to give back to their communities, be they local, national or
global." 
* Warren Buffett: "Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks (Berkshire
Hathaway stock certificates) on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our
well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge
effect on the health and welfare of others." 
* Bill and Melinda Gates: "We have been blessed with good fortune beyond our
wildest expectations, and we are profoundly grateful. But just as these gifts
are great, so we feel a great responsibility to use them well. That is why we
are so pleased to join in making an explicit commitment to the Giving Pledge." 
* Barron Hilton: "It is my hope that others are inspired by my father`s story,
and by our family`s steadfast adherence to his charitable philosophy." 
* Jon and Karen Huntsman: "It has been clear to me since my earliest childhood
memories that my reason for being was to help others." 
* George B. Kaiser: "I had the advantage of both genetics (winning the "ovarian
lottery") and upbringing. As I looked around at those who did not have these
advantages, it became clear to me that I had a moral obligation to direct my
resources to help right that balance." 
* Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest: "The ultimate achievement in life is how you
feel about yourself. And giving your wealth away to have an impact for good does
help with that feeling." 
* Lorry I. Lokey: "There`s an old saying about farmers putting back in to the
ground via fertilizer what they take out. So it is with money. The larger the
estate, the more important it is to revitalize the soil." 
* George Lucas: "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." 
* Tashia and John Morgridge: "The more personally involved we have become with
the causes we support the more effective we seem to be." 
* Peter G. Peterson: "As I watched and learned from my father`s example, I
noticed how much pleasure his giving to others gave him. Indeed, today, I get
much more pleasure giving money to what I consider worthwhile causes than making
the money in the first place." 
* David Rockefeller: "Our family continues to be united in the belief that those
who have benefited the most from our nation`s economic system have a special
responsibility to give back to our society in meaningful ways." 
* Jeff Skoll: "The world is a vast and complicated place and it needs each of us
doing all we can to ensure a brighter tomorrow for future generations." 
* Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor: "Surely the pleasure we derive from St. Francis`
active verbs of consoling, understanding, loving, giving and pardoning far
outweigh any selfish and passive pleasures of owning, having, or possessing." 
* Ted Turner: "I`m particularly thankful for my father`s advice to set goals so
high that they can`t possibly be achieved during a lifetime and to give help
where help is needed most. That inspiration keeps me energized and eager to keep
working hard every day on giving back and making the world a better place for
generations to come." 
* Sanford and Joan Weill: "Our Pledge is this: We will continue to give away all
of the wealth we have been so fortunate to make except for a very small
percentage allocated to our children and grandchildren between now and the time
we pass because we are firm believers that shrouds don`t have pockets."

August 4, 2010 Open Media Call

A media call and Q&A will take place promptly at 12:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday,
August 4, 2010. Dial-in information for the call is (866) 901-4714 (toll-free)
or (702) 599-4277 (int`l.), with conference ID # 92438683. 

Media Inquiries

For inquiries regarding specific pledge signatories, please contact the
individual`s respective office directly. For all general inquiries regarding the
Giving Pledge, please contact media@givingpledge.org or 206-268-2207.

Giving Pledge
Jason Maier, 206-268-2207
media@givingpledge.org

Copyright Business Wire 2010