‘Giving pledge’ should lead to a question of what we can give to our community

Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza. The director of “Star Wars.” T. Boone Pickens. Bill Gates. Michael Bloomberg. Warren Buffett.

They are part of the country’s ultra-wealthy, people for whom $1 million means as much as a dinner out for the rest of us.

And they are giving their wealth away.

Gates and Buffett this week produced a list of 40 individuals who signed what they call the “giving pledge” — a promise to give at least half of their wealth to charity.

With time and as they reach more people, they hope to generate as much as $600 billion for good causes. For perspective, consider that all philanthropies in the U.S. received $300 billion last year, according to The Associated Press.

So, we ask a question: What would happen if we all took part in this effort?

Not by giving away 50 percent. Most of us have too few assets to give away so much while living, or to deny an inheritance to our children.

But if we could give more, there are many in our community who need it. The United Way, which fuels so many charities in this community, could use some money. So could food banks, mentoring programs, the YMCA, churches. There are hundreds of organizations in this community alone that could use money.

Most of us already give to causes that we care about, either with our wallets or our sweat. So do Gates, Buffett and all the other multi-millionaires.

They are trying to spark a new wave of giving in this country, one that takes wealth from the hands of a few and uses it to help many. This is voluntary.

Can we all make some version of a “giving pledge?” Can we commit to invest what dollars we can in improving our community?