Billionaires unite for charity: Where should the money go?

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is the latest billionaire to pledge that most of his wealth will go to charity. What causes should this cash back?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is the latest billionaire to pledge that most of his wealth will go to charity.

The move follows a call by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in June prodding billionaires to donate their money to charity.

The Giving Pledge site aggregates the folks that have pledged to give the majority of wealth to philanthropy. Ellison wrote in his letter:

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. Until now, I have done this giving quietly – because I have long believed that charitable giving is a personal and private matter. So why am I going public now? Warren Buffett personally asked me to write this letter because he said I would be “setting an example” and “influencing others” to give. I hope he’s right.

T. Boone Pickens is also on the charitable case. He said:

I’ve long stated that I enjoy making money, and I enjoy giving it away. I like making money more, but giving it away is a close second. To date, I’ve given away nearly $800 million to a wide-range of charitable organizations, and I look forward to the day I hit the $1 billion mark. I’m not a big fan of inherited wealth. It generally does more harm than good. I want to thank my friends Bill and Warren for their leadership – I am pleased to join them.

If you go through the list of donors it's staggering about how many billions will go to charity.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has focused on improving health care and education. That leaves a bevy of other areas. Where should this money go? What causes are really needed? And how does charity change with this influx of cash?

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards