Hey, You with the Billions of Dollars – Do Something!

Yesterday morning I was glued to the television watching ABC News’ This Week. Host Christiane Amanpour spoke to three of the world’s most riches men, Ted Turner, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates about their commitment to philanthropy by way of, The Giving Pledge: an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit 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.

The interview was captivating. Beyond the fact that these rich dudes are giving away huge chunks of their money to make the world a better place, I was shocked by the humble attitude of one of the billionaires in particular: Mr. Turner, who stunned the world with one of the largest donations in history – one billion dollars – to create the United Nations Foundation. Here are a few of his quotes that stuck with me:

  • I lost $10 million a day every day for three years. I stayed with Time Warner because my family and friends had a lot of stock in the company and I was on the board and I just — I was like the captain of the Titanic. I went down with the ship. It hurt because I worked hard to get that money. I’ve worked hard. Like that song, “She Works Hard for her Money.” That was my theme song.
  • Governments are like everybody else. Everybody needs helps sometimes no matter how rich and powerful you are.
  • One thing they (people who don’t have billions to donate) can do is pick up trash. That’s what I do. We’re in New York now and yesterday I walked around the block and I picked up trash and put it in the garbage.
  • You only have one life, you might as well make it interesting and you might as well aim high. You know, it’s — try to do as much as you can. But basically I didn’t have a lot of fear because I thought things through very carefully before I did them and I felt like I wasn’t really taking that big a risk.

Find out who else has signed the Giving Pledge.

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