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02/20/2013

Add Sir Richard Branson to the list of billionaires who are thinking about the rest of us

Branson
Founder and President of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson carries burlesque artist Dita Von Teese on his shoulders as they board a Virgin Atlantic Airways 747-400 aircraft to pose for photos at McCarran International Airport in this June 15, 2010 file photo. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Sir Richard Branson is the latest signatory to the Giving Pledge, the ultimate philanthropic project started by U.S. billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010.

Signatories form a pretty exclusive club.

First, you have to be a billionaire and second, you must be willing to either give half of it away now to charitable causes, or, when you die. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is a member. So is Charles Bronfman.

Branson is one of the first members to sign on who is not from the United States. The Giving Pledge was previously only open to individuals in the U.S. but that has just changed due to high demand.

Twelve new signatores from around the world joined up this week.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, told the Telegraph newspaper his money will go to “entrepreneurial approaches to help make a difference in the world.” The money will go to the Pledge once the Branson’s dissolve their wealth out of Virgin airline and their other holdings.

Branson also wisely said “stuff” is not what brings true happiness and that “Happily, our children, who will be our principal heirs, agree with me on this.”

The world thanks them for being so kind.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's Global Economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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