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Facebook's Zuckerberg to give away half his cash

WebNews
, 09 Dec 2010News

Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz are among the latest batch of 17 billionaires who have promised to give away at least half of their fortunes, after signing up to a philanthropic campaign led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates 3.0 and celebrity investor Warren Buffett.

The Giving Pledge, a group consisting of some of America's wealthiest, announced the news in a press release late on Wednesday.

The Pledge was launched in June this year by Gates and his wife Melinda, along with Buffett.

Gates 3.0 and his spouse have so far given away $28 billion through their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Back in 2006, Buffett - recently ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's third-richest man, with a net worth of $47 billion - pledged to hand over 99 per cent of his wealth to charitable causes.

According to our calculations, that would leave him with a near-penniless bank balance of $470 million. 

By signing up to The Giving Pledge, the mega-rich make a vague promise - sorry, "moral commitment" - to give away more than half of their fortune at some point during their lifetime.

Which, presumably, is just the sort of tax-efficient warm-but-woolly sentiment that has made the Pledge such a popular PR opportunity among America's ultra-rich.

This second group of signings brings the group's total to 57. And in the spirit of discreetly anonymous altruism, you'll find a full list of names on the group's website.

"People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?" said Zuckerberg, who in September donated $100 million to bail out the public school system in New Jersey.

"With a generation of younger folks who have thrived on the success of their companies, there is a big opportunity for many of us to give back earlier in our lifetime and see the impact of our philanthropic efforts," he added.

"In just a few short months we've made good progress," announced Buffett. "The Giving Pledge has re-energised people thinking about philanthropy and doing things in philanthropy and I look forward to many more conversations with families who are truly fortunate and whose generosity can and will change lives."

Still, season of goodwill and all that. Mustn't be too cynical. Spare some change for a poor journalist...?

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