December 14, 2010

Buffett and Gateses Talk With President About 'Giving Pledge'

Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett have been inviting the country's billionaires to dinner to persuade them to give more of their money to charity. Today, the Gateses and Mr. Buffett had an invitation of their own: to the White House, to talk about their "Giving Pledge" effort to convince the America's wealthiest people to give half their wealth away.

The Gateses and Mr. Buffett met with President Obama in the Oval Office this morning, according to a statement from a White House official. In addition to talking philanthropy, the three billionaires spoke with the president about ways to strengthen the economy, support innovation, and improve America's schools. The flagging U.S. education system is a central focus of the Gateses' philanthropy. (See this article from The Chronicle's archive about their education gifts, and those of other major donors.)

No word on whether the three billionaires asked Mr. Obama to sign their pledge. He's not, however, in their target demographic: The president's net worth is estimated at about $5-million.