Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Largest charitable donation EVER!
Warren Buffett, the world's second richest man, has pledged $30.7 billion (yes, that is $30,700,000,000, double Iceland's gross national product!) of his $44 billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
This year the Gates' Foundation will receive half a million shares worth around $1.5 billion. In total, Buffett has pledged 10 million shares to the foundation, which will receive a further five per cent of the total, each year, for as long as either Bill or Melinda Gates remains involved with the charity.
Despite his immense wealth, Buffett is famous for his unpretentious and frugal lifestyle. He continues to live in the same house he bought in 1958 for $31,500. His annual chairman's salary from Berkshire Hathaway is $100,000.
Like the Gates, Buffett does not intend his progeny to inherit a significant proportion of his wealth. These actions are consistent with statements he has made in the past indicating his opposition to the transfer of great fortunes from one generation to the next.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it is the largest charitable donation ever made. Buffett, who plays Bridge with Gates, said he had chosen to donate the money to the Gates' foundation because he isn't as suited to philanthropy as the Microsoft founder.
The Gates' are said to be 'awed' by the donation.