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In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, two of the world’s richest men, created The Giving Pledge, an invitation to America’s wealthiest individuals to join Buffett and Gates in committing most of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.

Those taking the pledge must provide a letter explaining the decision, and once a year the group will congregate to share ideas. Although slow to start, today at The Giving Pledge website the letters from 92 families are available to read. One oft sited reason for joining is the emotional return that comes from giving, helping, contributing, even above the intellectual awareness of what’s fair.

When the question of whether giving was an emotional decision or an intellectual one was asked to a panel of philanthropists at the Forbes 400 Summit in New York last summer, Melinda Gates said that it’s both: “For me it’s a heart tug that I feel, that I carry every time I come back home. But then it’s your intellectual head that says, ‘How do I impact tens of millions? How do I use this money that’s at our disposal to have the very biggest impact?’ It’s your brain that hopefully takes over when you’re back home, to help guide that emotion that you feel that keeps fueling while you give.”

Delighted with the recent commitments from 11 new families, in a press release Bill Gates said, “This new group brings extensive business and philanthropic experience that will enrich the conversation about how to make philanthropy as impactful as possible. Their thoughtfulness and deep commitment to philanthropy are an inspiration to me.”

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