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40 Billionaires Pledge Away Half Their Wealth

Back in July, Paul Allen announced that he was responding to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates' call for the country’s billionaires to give half their money to charity. At the time we knew of several other billionaires who made the same promise, including Eli and Edythe Broad and John and Ann Doerr. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that 40 people – including 30 billionaires – have joined the cause, and the tech industry is definitely well represented.

Along with Microsoft co-founders Paul and Bill, you've got Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, who says he has long intended to give away at least 95 percent of his wealth to charity; Star Wars director George Lucas; Alfred E. Mann; Lorry I. Lokey, the founder of Business Wire; Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay; and Walter Scott Jr. Other who have pledged include Barron Hilton, David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, and Berni and Billi Marcus, the founders of Home Depot.

Buffet and Gates' Giving Pledge asks the nation's billionaires to give the majority of their money to charity when they die. However, the website does state that despite requiring all pledges to declare their intentions publicly in a letter, it is not a legally binding promise.

The letters make for interesting reading, especially if you're wondering what kinds of charities are benefiting from all this generosity. George Lucas is donating his money to improving education, and Larry Ellison, who apparently didn't even want to write a letter but did so on Buffet's request, is backing medical research and education.

Larry Ellison's letter is below. The others, which are too long to post, can be found here.

To whom it may concern,