The CEO could be the richest man in the world if he wanted, but he’s committed to donating most of his wealth to charity.
The philanthropic Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett donated $4.6 billion of his company stock to five charities last Wednesday, June 21.
The donation has already been delivered to the five foundations which include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation.
Though the number of shares Buffett donates decreases by 5% every year, this year’s donation is still the largest in value because of the company’s climbing stock prices.
His total charitable giving now amounts to over $50 billion, which is more than his net worth in 2006 when he first began his annual donations.
“Nothing extraordinary has occurred at Berkshire; a very long runway, simple and generally sound decisions, the American tailwind and compounding effects produced my current wealth. My will provides that more than 99% of my estate is destined for philanthropic usage,” Buffett stated in a press release.
The Giving Pledge
The CEO has scheduled these annual grants since 2006 when he committed to gradually giving all of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations. “I couldn’t be happier with that decision,” he wrote in his pledge letter.
“The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude.Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced,” he continued.
“In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs. My pledge starts us down that course.”
In 2010, Buffett along with Bill and Melinda Gates formally announced the Giving Pledge campaign. “The Giving Pledge is a moral commitment–not a legally binding one,” the website states. “It is a simple proposition, encouraging more of the world’s wealthiest people to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to charitable causes.”
Now over 200 wealthy individuals from all over the world have signed up, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon stakeholder MacKenzie Scott, and filmmaker George Lucas.
The campaign is “inspired by the example set by millions of people who give generously, and often at great personal sacrifice, to make the world a better place.” Through the Giving Pledge, Buffett and the Gates aim to “change the norms of philanthropy among the world’s wealthiest people.”
Banner image via The Giving Pledge’s official website.