Zuckerberg joins billionaire philanthropists’ club

Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett seem to be making some progress with The Giving Pledge, a philanthropic effort that is attempting to persuade some of America’s richest people to give away most of their wealth to charities and philanthropic efforts upon their deaths, rather than bequeath it to their families. The Giving Pledge has now added 17 more wealthy families to its roster—bringing the total to almost 60—and one of the latest additions is Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” said Zuckerberg, in a statement. “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.”

Signing up with the Giving Pledge does not constitute a formal contract, or carry any legal obligation: rather, the pledge is a “moral commitment.” The contract-free nature of the pledge makes it easier to administer: there’s no over-arching find to which all members contribute, nor does the pledge have a pre-selected list of supported charities, organizations, or causes: pledge-makers can handle their philanthropic gifts however they choose. The Giving Pledge is focused on billionaires (or folks who would be billionaires if they didn’t already give away so much money), but is based on similar efforts aimed at donors at all financial levels.

Among the other mega-rich who have signed on to The Giving Pledge recently include AOL co-founder Steve Case, investor Carl Icahn, and junk bond pioneer (and former jailbird) Michael Milken. The Giving Pledge has already signed up the likes of Ted Turner, George Lucas, George Mitchell, and Michael Bloomberg,

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