Back in June, Fortune magazine published a fascinating article detailing how, over the past few years, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet had embarked on a secret campaign. Their goal? To get other billionaires to join them in pledging half of their wealth to philanthropic projects.
At the time, it was unclear how many others they could recruit to the cause. It's not any more. Yesterday, they unveiled a list of 40 billionaires who have committed to "giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death."
At The Giving Pledge website you can see the list. Joining Buffet and the Gateses is pretty much every American billionaire you've heard of—Paul Allen, Michael Bloomberg, George Lucas, David Rockefeller, and Larry Ellison—and a bunch you haven't.
Given the terms of the pledge, we don't know where all this money will go, or when it will go there. But regardless, America's leading rich people have sent a message: If you have billions of dollars and you're not on this list, you're not in the cool kids' club. Get with it.