Ashcroft to donate half of his fortune to charities

Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft has made a commitment to hand over more than half of his fortune to charitable causes, following in the footsteps of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.

The businessman announced in The Sunday Telegraph that he has signed up to the Giving Pledge, a promise by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.

With an estimated fortune of £1.1bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, Lord Ashcroft said he will leave at least half of his assets to a charitable foundation in his name.

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“When I die, I have decided to leave the majority of my assets to a charitable foundation in my name,” he wrote.

“I have never been a great believer in inherited wealth.

“After my death, my family will be trustees of the foundation so that they will be able to enjoy making donations to worthy causes in my name.”

The Giving Pledge, which is a moral commitment and not a legal contract, was set up by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, and investor Warren Buffett.

Lord Ashcroft will be added to the list of “pledgers” on Tuesday.

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“The pledge is made publicly because the founders’ goal is to talk about giving in an open way and to create an atmosphere that can draw more people into philanthropy,” he said.

“I would like to see a situation in which the richest members of our society increasingly believe it to be their obligation to support good causes.” He said his family “wholeheartedly” supported his decision.

Lord Ashcroft set up Crimestoppers 25 years ago and helped to open a gallery of the world’s largest collection of Victoria Crosses and George Crosses at the Imperial War Museum to champion bravery.