A recent trend for celebrities is giving a lot of their wealth to charity. One prime example of this newfound altruism is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is one of the worlds’ largest charities with an endowment totaling over $33 billion funded by Microsoft founder Gates and investor Warren Buffett. Since The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 1994 it has given away nearly $23 billion for health and development in poor countries and to improve common American’s access to financial aid.
Some Rollins students offered their opinions. Andrew Johnson ‘14 said, “I think that some celebrities need to give more because they have so much potential to give and are only proportionally giving a small amount of their wealth.”
A new initiative on the part of some of the riches people in the world is a new idea proposed by Bill Gates. It is supposed to be a clarion call for all billionaires to step up their level of charity giving. According to the pledge, the giving can occur either during donors’ lifetimes or after their passing. This way, billionaires can donate their extra money to those less fortunate. Each has committed at least 50 percent of their net worth, but many have committed to larger percentages. The men and women taking the pledge are free to direct their money to causes of their choice. In fact, the pledge is non-binding, though the organizers say the billionaires are making a “moral commitment,” publicly signing their names to letters posted on a website, www.GivingPledge.org. The man who manages the funds for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has already offered to advise any of the pledges who need to find charities to attach to and begin giving.
The project has already garnered the support of over 40 billionaires. The supporters range from Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, the two original pledges, to film maker George Lucas, Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg, and media mogul Ted Turner. The estimated total sum of the project will be over $125 billion based on the pledge’s total net worth.
In response to this new effort some Rollins College student have a better outlook on celebrities. “I think this will really help these charities in the long run and will go a long way towards curing diseases and helping those less fortunate than us,” says Rocky Desir ‘14. With this new initiative we may begin to see celebrities become far more active in the community and charities garner more respect.