Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has joined Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and more than three dozen other wealthy individuals in the pledge to donate at least half of their fortunes to charitable causes. In announcing his decision Ellison wrote, "Many years ago, I put virtually all of my assets into a trust with the intent of giving away at least 95% of my wealth to charitable causes. I have already given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education, and I will give billions more over time."
Ellison explained that his philanthropy has until now been a private matter that he has only now, at the urging of Buffet, made public in the hope of encouraging other persons of means to follow suit.
Writing in the JD Edwards Advisor David Andrews observed, "Just last week Ellison was declared to be the best paid CEO over the past decade by The Wall Street Journal. Most observers seem to feel that he deserved to be at the top of the list given the success Oracle enjoyed during that period under his leadership. Knowing now that most of that money will be given away over time makes it appear even more justified."
Commenting on the impact of this largesse an editorial in MercuryNews.com noted that, "The combined pledge estimated at $120 billion is staggering. Invested, it would throw off an estimated $15 million in interest every single day."
Buffet said he and Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, and Gates' wife Melinda made calls to fellow billionaires on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans — in many cases, people they had never met — to try to persuade them to join the giving pledge.
MSNBC reported Buffet's account of the effort he and Gates made in recruiting others to their cause: "We contacted between 70 and 80 people to get the 40. A few were unavailable. We don’t give up on them. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. We’ll keep on working."
The MSNBC story calculates that, "The United States has roughly 400 billionaires — about 40 percent of the world's total — with a combined net worth of $1.2 trillion, according to Forbes. If they all took the pledge, that would amount to at least $600 billion for charity."
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