A total of 57 billionaires now have joined The Giving Pledge, which was launched by Microsoft founder Gates and investor Buffett in June. The campaign announced the new pledges in a statement late on Wednesday.
Individual Americans gave more than $227 billion in 2009, according to the Giving USA report by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, down just 0.4 percent from the previous year despite the U.S. recession.
Buffett pledged in 2006 to give away 99 percent of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and family charities. Bill and Melinda Gates have so far donated more than $28 billion of their fortune to their foundation.
The full list of billionaires and their letters can be seen at www.thegivingpledge.org.
Michele Chan and Patrick Soon-Shiong
The letter they wrote is as follows:
Our passion, our mission is to transform health and health care, in America and beyond. Our family foundation was established for that purpose.
Growing up in South Africa during the time of apartheid, we had direct experience of inequality, including great disparities in health and access to good care. After thirty years living in the United States, we see similar disparities in health care on our doorstep in Los Angeles, and across the nation. What was unconscionable to us in South Africa in the twentieth century is just as unconscionable in the United States in the twenty-first.
America has been a land of opportunity for us, as it has for so many immigrants. We are proud to be Americans and we want to see our country strong and healthy. We are blessed to have resources and expertise to contribute.
Our pledge is that, through our family foundation, we will work to erode and eliminate disparities in health care, and to help bring about a system of health care which aims first to keep people healthy, and secondly to ensure that everyone has access to the best quality health care when they need it. We and our children are dedicating our time and our resources to that end.
These people are true philanthropists. There is nothing worse than self promoters who donate money in an effort to raise their profile in the community thus, buying their way into society. You can usually tell those people apart from the others because they put their names on everything they touch and brag about their donations in periodicals.
Ted Turner wrote a very inspirational letter. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are true class acts! Remember, behind every classy man is a classy woman like Melinda Gates!