Bill Gates, Warren Buffett Urge Billionaires To Give Away Half Their Fortunes : The Two-Way At three secret meetings, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett urged their wealthy contemporaries to make sizable charitable contributions.
NPR logo Bill Gates, Warren Buffett Urge Billionaires To Give Away Half Their Fortunes

Bill Gates, Warren Buffett Urge Billionaires To Give Away Half Their Fortunes

Bill Gates, with friend and fellow philanthropist Warren Buffett, convened a series of secret meetings with some of the world's wealthiest men and women, in New York and California. Alfredo Estrella/AFP hide caption

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Alfredo Estrella/AFP

Last year, billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett convened three meetings with some of the world's wealthiest men and women, to try to convince them to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity, Fortune reports.

According to Carol J. Loomis, senior editor-at-large for the magazine, and a close friend of Buffett's, 14 people, with "a combined net worth of maybe $130 billion and a serious history of having depleted that amount by giving money to charity," gathered at Rockefeller University, the New York Public Library, and the Rose Sand Hill hotel.

Who was there?  Oprah Winfrey, Eli and Edythe Broad, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, Julian Robertson, Pete Peterson, and David Rockefeller, among others.

"With that dinner meeting, Gates and Buffett started what can be called the biggest fundraising drive in history," Loomis writes.

They'd welcome donors of any kind. But their direct target is billionaires, whom the two men wish to see greatly raise the amounts they give to charities, of any and all kinds.

In 2006, Buffett, announced his decision to donate more than $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Back then, he told reporters he is "not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when the alternative is 6 billion people having much poorer hands in life than we have."

A copy of Buffett's "philanthropic pledge" accompanies the article:

More than 99 percent of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day.