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Hedge fund elite join Buffett-Gates philanthropy project

August 05, 2010   Lawrence Delevingne


An unhedged commitment attracts Julian Robertson, T. Boone Pickens, Jim Simons and others.

Yesterday, billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates announced they had convinced some 40 of the country's wealthiest individuals to sign on to their philanthropy project, "The Giving Pledge," a commitment 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," according to the organization's website.

Hedge fund wealth figured prominently on the list. So far, the 2 and 20 component of the list includes:

Laura and John Arnold
Background: John Arnold is the founder of Centaurus Advisors
Estimated wealth (Forbes): $4.0 billion
Pledge quote: "At the [Laura and John Arnold Foundation], we focus on areas where (1) philanthropic investments can lead to solutions that are self-sustaining in the long-term, (2) we can leverage a relatively small investment to create a large impact on total societal benefit and (3) the market does not presently yield optimal results, due to inefficiencies, lack of adequate information or other reasons. These guiding principles have led us to invest in a number of areas including education reform, health care, social services and social justice."

T. Boone Pickens
Background: Pickens is the founder of BP Capital Management
Estimated wealth (Forbes): $1.1 billion
Pledge quote: "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."

Julian Robertson Jr.
Background: Robertson is the founder of Tiger Management ( Hall of Fame interview)
Estimated wealth (Forbes): $2.2 billion
Pledge quote: "One very fortunate thing is that I did not get nearly as enthusiastic about philanthropy early on as I am now; if I had there would be very little to give away. I have found so many great new projects to work with just in the last several years: the national parks, the families of our military, stem cells, and now obesity. The Milken Institute calculates that if we could get Americans back to their weight level of 1991, we could save a trillion dollars a year. A trillion dollars, think of that! Besides making Americans healthier, we could now solve the fiscal crisis in the US."

Jim and Marilyn Simons
Background: Jim Simons is the founder of Renaissance Technologies ( Hall of Fame interview)
Estimated wealth (Forbes): $8.5 billion
Pledge quote: "We and our children have determined that the great majority of our wealth will be devoted to philanthropic purposes. We are very fortunate to be in this position, and we find the execution of our philanthropic work to be both challenging and deeply satisfying."

Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor
Background: Steyer is the founder of Farallon Capital Management
Estimated wealth (Forbes): $1.2 billion (2008)
Pledge quote: "Almost by accident - we've focused on good investing not making money - we currently have more assets than we could reasonably spend in our lifetime. Our original impetus for saving money revolved around wanting our kids to enjoy the same educational opportunities that we had, so that they could succeed on their own terms, assuming that they worked hard. That's what our much appreciated parents did for us. We never aimed to endow our children with wealth. After honest conversations with each of them, singly and together, we know that they don't want that either. We also worried about affording excellent healthcare for our family. But otherwise, we enjoy our life here in California and don't require more material possessions."

Shelby White
Background: White is the widow of Leon Levy ( Hall of Fame interview), who founded Odyssey Partners
Estimated wealth (Forbes): Not available
Pledge quote: Not available


Great and nobel initiative.
Surpriseed that many need to be cajoled or reminded to do this.
Truly an American undertaking because we do not think generationally as they do in Europe, for example

Rich klitzberg Aug 11, 2010

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