The Oracle of Omaha said today that he will donate an additional $4.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway’s shares, and announced he is resigning as a trustee at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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Warren Buffett said that today represents “a milestone,” as in 2006, he pledged to distribute all of his Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of his net worth — to philanthropy. “With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there,” Buffett said in a statement.
Buffett’s pledge constituted giving most of his fortune to the Gates Foundation and to four charitable trusts created by his family — the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Susan A. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation, led by Peter A. Buffett, according to the Gates Foundation.
“The easiest deed in the world is to give away money that will never be of any real use to you or your family. The giving is painless and may well lead to a better life for both you and your children,” Buffett said. “Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do. I’ve made no sacrifice nor has my family. Compound interest, a long runway, wonderful associates and our incredible country have simply worked their magic. Society has a use for my money; I don’t.”
In August 2010, Buffett, along with Bill and Melinda Gates — who announced their divorce last month — created the Giving Pledge. The program is a commitment by America’s wealthiest to give the majority of their wealth to address some of society’s most pressing problems. It now includes 40 people, such as Richard and Joan Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Elon Musk, Ted Turner, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.
Buffett added in the statement that “these remarks are no swan song; I continue at my enjoyable job, doing what I like, aided by associates I like and working to deploy the savings of people who have long trusted me. I still relish being on the field and carrying the ball. But I’m clearly playing in a game that, for me, has moved past the fourth quarter into overtime.”
Buffett said he is resigning from his trustee post, “just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s.”
“My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals,” he said in the statement.
Buffett concluded by saying he is optimistic: “Though naysayers abound — as they have throughout my life — America’s best days most certainly lie ahead. What’s happened here since 1776 has not been a historical fluke.”
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About the Author
Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.