Jul 15, 2010 2:47 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Paul Allen has become the latest billionaire to sign on to a challenge by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to get America's wealthiest people to donate the bulk of their riches to charity.
In a statement Thursday, Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with Gates, said he plans to leave the majority of his estate, valued at roughly $13.5 billion, to philanthropy.
Allen, 57, made the pledge on the same day he commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which has handed out more than $1 billion in grants and funding for nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest.
Allen, who announced in November he was undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, said he has planned to give away the bulk of his fortune for some time, but had not gone public with his intentions until now.
"Since the beginning, our philanthropy has been focused in the Pacific Northwest, where I live and work. I'm proud to have helped fund great work done by nonprofit groups throughout the region. But there's always more to do," Allen said.
"Today I also want to announce that my philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime. I've planned for many years now that the majority of my estate will be left to philanthropy to continue the work of the Foundation and to fund nonprofit scientific research, like the ground-breaking work being done at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. As our philanthropy continues in the years ahead, we will look for new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of future generations."
Allen follows in the footsteps of former business partner Gates and billionaire investor Buffett, who last month kicked off a public campaign to get U.S. billionaires to pledge the vast majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
Allen, the 37th richest person in the world according to Forbes magazine, co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Gates and resigned as an executive in 1983 as he overcame a first bout with cancer.