Tuesday, 11 July 2017
Warren Buffett sets personal record, donates nearly $3.2 billion in a single day
Warren Buffett has built one of the greatest fortunes in history, and on Monday he continued his quest to give it all away. For the 12th time, the Berkshire Hathaway chairman has made his annual summer donation, this year gifting Berkshire stock worth more than $3.17 billion to charity. The staggering sum is Buffett’s biggest-ever summer donation, topping last year’s $2.86 billion gift, thanks to the rising value of his conglomerate’s share price over the past year. Berkshire stock is up 17% since last July, closing at $170.25 on Monday.
The recipients of the 18.62 million class B shares that Buffett gifted are just as expected. The bulk, reportedly about $2.4 billion, was placed in the hands of the richest man on the planet, Bill Gates. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, run by the Microsoft cofounder and his wife, focuses on causes like ending world poverty, improving U.S. schools and combating infectious diseases like HIV, polio and malaria.
Just as in years past, Buffett is also giving hundreds of millions to four charities connected to close family members: the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the charity named for his late wife that focuses on family planning programs and college scholarships, plus each of his three children’s foundations -- the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the NoVo Foundation -- which are run by Howard, Susan and Peter Buffett, respectively.
Despite donating stock worth nearly as much as Donald Trump, Buffett will not fall even a single spot on Forbes’ global billionaire ranking. His net worth dropped from $76.3 billion to $73.1 billion after the gift, but he remains the world’s fourth-wealthiest person -- about $8 billion richer than fifth-place Carlos Slim.
Buffett may not be in such company forever, though. He has vowed to give away 99% of his wealth in his lifetime or within ten years of his estate being settled. So far, according to a press release issued Monday, he has given more than 40% of his holdings to these five foundations since 2006, worth some $27.54 billion in all. Forbes estimates his total lifetime giving to be nearly $32 billion.