For the final entry of Independence Week 2013, I’ve continued the philanthropy theme with Warren Buffett. Along with the Gates’, Buffett is perhaps one of the most prominent philanthropists of this generation. He and the Gates are the originators of The Giving Pledge, a commitment by signatory billionaires to donate much of their wealth between now and their deaths.
Now, far be it from me to say what wealthy people must do with their money; I don’t believe in that. If they want to hoard it all, good for them. If they want to give it all to their kids upon death, then that’s their prerogative. But I cannot help but admire what the 105 signatories (as of this posting) to the pledge are doing. Their donations will help improve health and education in some of the places that need it the most. The beneficiaries of these donations will have a second lease on life and, in the case of education grants, a chance to lead a better life of their own volition.
None of this is new for Buffett, who has held this commitment since 1988, and was one of the first people to do so, ushering a new kind of venture philanthrophy, which uses the principles of venture capitalism to achieve philanthropic goals. He has additionally worked with other organizations, such as the Glide Foundation, that work toward many of the same goals as the Gates Foundation.
Thanks to the donations, many people in many parts of the world will be able to achieve a kind of independence that this week is intended to celebrate.