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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Determining a New Fashionable Trend: Charity

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

On 16 June Bill Gates and Warren Buffett addressed American billionaires with an unusual call - to give away half of their wealth to charity.

 

America’s rich businesspeople can make their donations after death as well by including relevant provisions in their last wills.
The charitable campaign is called The Giving Pledge. Based on its originators’ preliminary estimates, it can raise about 600 billion dollars.According to The Forbes, there are 403 billionaires living in the USA.

 

The founder of Microsoft and the owner of Berkshire Hathaway, an investment company, are willing to go down in history as the most generous rather than wealthiest people in the best traditions of the Carnegies and the Rockefellers who donated the better part of their wealth for the society’s benefit.

Interestingly, in 2004 Bill Gates became a member of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway thus formalizing his relationships with Warren Buffett.
 
With his 53 bn. dollars, Bill Gates is placed second in the latest Forbes rating and is currently known as the person who has spent most money on charity.
In 2008 Bill Gates left his full-time position in Microsoft and took up management of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – the world’s largest charity foundation set up in 1994 that has 26 bn. dollars of funds at its disposal.
 
The foundation’s operations are intended to improve the health care system.The foundation’s money has been used to overcome famine in poor countries, fight AIDS, TB, malaria.In the USA, the Foundation works to improve the education system.
In 2009 the Foundation provided 25 mln. dollars for computerization of public libraries in Ukraine.
 
Warren Buffett is America’s guru, the most renowned investor of recent times, the head of Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate that includes Geico (car insurance), Benjamin Moore (paints) and Fruit of the Loom (textiles).
With his 47 billion dollars W. Buffett is ranked third among billionaires by The Forbes.
He published his letter at The Giving Pledge site stating that he happily made a decision to transfer 99% of his capital to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
 
During the year W. Buffett, B. Gates and the latter’s spouse had regular dinners with America’s wealthy elite trying to convince its representatives to go into charity.
The originators of the call assure that some people have already volunteered to join.Four billionaires have vowed their consent: Eli Broad and his wife are famous collectors prepared to contribute 75% of their 6-billion fortune; Gerry Lenfest, the owner of telecommunications-related Lenfest Enterprises, and his wife have already donated 800 million dollars.They were joined by venture investor John Doerr and John Morgridge, the ex-president of Cisco Systems.
 
Vladimir PotaninVladimir Potanin, a Russian entrepreneur, head of Interros holding, chose to follow the example of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Ever since late 1990-s the Russian businessman has been in the top of the list of the world’s richest people published by The Forbes.He has holdings in GKM Norilsk Nickel, AKB Rosbank, the OPIN Group, ProfMedia holding and Roza Khutor.

 

In his interview to The Financial Times Vladimir Potanin said that he intended to bequeath all his assets to charity.
It should be noted that V. Potanin was among the first Russian oligarchs to go into arts patronage by setting up V. Potanin’s Charity Foundation in 1999mainly focused on realizing the potential of the most active, gifted and well-educated young people, developing culture (supporting museums, giving grants to TEFI winners).As the businessman said he would increase contributions to his foundation to 25 million dollars.
 
According to the news agency of the Masterforex-V Trading Academy, since December 2001 V. Potanin has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Solomon Guggenheim Foundation (Solomon Robert Guggenheim (1861-1949), an American arts patron of Swiss origin, founder of the Museum of Modern Arts in New-York, created a foundation for supporting modern arts) and has been making annual donations of 1 million dollars to the Foundation.
 
Arts patronage and charity have always and invariably been held in respect.Hopefully, the large amounts raised by charitable entities will indeed be used for a good cause.

 

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Text: Oleg Kulikov
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