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July 9, 2007

Is charity contagious?

Posted by Kristi Heim at 11:48 AM

In the year following Warren Buffett's highly publicized donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, all that generousity is clearly having one effect: peer pressure.

The act has spurred its share of philanthropic impulses around the globe. In case you missed it, Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan said recently he is giving half of his fortune to charity.

While Chan didn't reveal his net worth, he did mention the influence of Buffett and Gates.

"I admire the efforts by Buffett and Gates to help those in need a lot," Chan said.
"Like Buffett and Gates, I want to help people, but I don't have as much money as they do," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Chan, 52, said his donation would go into his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, started in 1988 to help poor youth in Hong Kong and later broadened to include disaster relief, medicine and the arts.

Observers have also taken a closer look at the wallets of the world's richest and asked -- why hold out?

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has a fat piggy bank, adding $3.5 billion to his riches every month, according to Business Week. Now he is estimated to have overtaken Gates as the richest man in the world.

Slim's charities include a $1.2 billion endowment of his telecom company's Telmex Foundation and a family charity worth $2.5 billion. And he recently donated $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Slim pickings compared to Gates' philanthropy? Maybe, but better than none at all.

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Tricia Duryee
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