personal finance

Buffett says too few from Wall Street are giving their fortunes away, hopes more follow Cooperman’s lead

Warren Buffett praised Leon Cooperman’s vow to give away his entire fortune to charity.

In an email to the hedge fund billionaire, Buffett said “a disproportionately low number of people” from Wall Street have committed to the Giving Pledge, and he urged the 75-year-old Cooperman to influence his peers to give more.

The Giving Pledge was created by Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates. In 2010, 40 of America’s wealthiest individuals and couples committed to give more than half of their wealth away to philanthropy or charitable causes.

Cooperman expressed his commitment to the pledge Tuesday on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.”

“I think Warren Buffett has said this publicly. When I took the Giving Pledge I told him asking for half is not asking for enough. I intend to give it all away. And I’m going to give it to those organizations, institutions and individuals that made a difference to me in my lifetime. That’s my focus,” Cooperman said.

Here is the full email Buffett sent to Cooperman following his CNBC appearance Tuesday:

Hi Lee,

You were terrific on CNBC today. I think I know exactly the emotions you experienced and the reasoning you followed since I had done somewhat the same thing in 1969.

The one thing I can guarantee you is that your parents would be extraordinarily pleased at the course you have followed — and are going to continue to follow in life.

Example can be powerful. At The Giving Pledge, we have a disproportionately low number of people who have made their fortunes in Wall Street. You can be a powerful influence in having them rethink their priorities. I hope you make use of the moral podium on which you stand.

I agree with you that I didn’t ask for enough when I called on you to pledge 50% — and I’m glad you are correcting for my error.

Best regards,



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