There are now 81 billionaires committed to giving at least half of their fortunes to charity, thanks to 12 new families and individuals who have signed on to Bill Gates' and Warren Buffett's "Giving Pledge."
Among the new additions to the pledge, a non-contractual promise to give the majority of one's wealth to charity, are Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank and hedge fund mogul Bill Ackman.
“It’s terrific to be adding these 12 families to the Giving Pledge,” Buffett, pledge co-founder and chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a press release. “They come from different backgrounds, but share a common desire to see positive change in our world."
Blank describes in his Giving Pledge his desire to tackle the country's wealth gap:
"The needs in our society are more profound than at any point in my lifetime. The gap between rich and poor in America is growing," Blank wrote on the Giving Pledge. "Philanthropy alone cannot repair all of the social injustice in our country or the world. It can, however, inspire good will, spark innovation and provide thought leadership.”
Gates and Buffett, the world's second and third richest people respectively according to Bloomberg, started the pledge as an invitation to the country's wealthiest -- billionaires only -- to give more than half of their money to charity. Among the notable billionaires to sign on is Mark Zuckerberg, who pledged in December 2010.
The announcement comes in the wake of Buffett's announcement that he has prostate cancer.