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Monday, June 26, 2006

Superstars of philanthropy: Warren Buffet and Bill Gates

Suddenly the pieces start falling into place. Warren Buffet has announced that he is going to give away the bulk of his fortune, worth around US$ 40 billion, and that much of it will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He will, in fact, be joining them as a trustee.

Just ten days ago, you'll recall, Gates had announced that he was going to quit Microsoft and focus more on his foundation. This ties in neatly with Buffet's announcement: both these men are clearly going to make philanthropy the focus of their lives.

In a sense you could say the time was ripe for something like this. The richest people of our times have the kind of financial power to have a serious chance of ending the world's problems: not by giving away their money, but by making systemic investments in medical research, infrastructure and education in poor countries, and a variety of enabling efforts. At some point, you'd imagine that people like Gates and Buffet, who've achieved everything they possibly could in business, would take up this inevitable challenge. They could make a remarkable difference, and leave behind a remarkable legacy.

Also, wouldn't Gates much rather fight poverty than Google? This way, he actually stands a chance of winning.

Some related links from Fortune: How Buffet's giveaway will work, The global force called the Gates Foundation.

Previous posts on Gates: 1, 2, 3, 4.

(Fortune links via email from Sanjeev.)
amit varma, 4:10 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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