Bill Gates says pledge to give away 'virtually all' of his money will erase him from world's wealthiest list

Billionaire Bill Gates said Wednesday he will give away a large chunk of his wealth this month to the philanthropic organization he founded with his ex-wife, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Microsoft co-founder announced on Twitter he'll be transferring $20 billion to the foundation's endowment. Gates said the goal of the donation now is to allow the the organization to be positioned to spend $9 billion per year by 2026. The move's meant to offset the organization's financial setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation," Gates said. "I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world's richest people."

"I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives. And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too."

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Gates' current net worth is around $113 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The 66-year-old had been vocal for years about donating his wealth to issues that matter, including climate change.

In his series of Wednesday tweets, Gates also thanked famed billionaire friend Warren Buffet for his contribution to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett, Gates, and Melinda French Gates founded The Giving Pledge initiative in 2010 as a "movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills." It has signatures from over 200 billionaires.