Warren Buffett (born 1930), the largest shareholder, CEO and chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway isn’t only one of the most successful investors of modern history but he is also one of the greatest philanthropists of all times. Consistently ranking at the very top of the world’s wealthiest people (in 2008, the richest person in the world), Buffett pledged to give away virtually all his fortune for philanthropic projects, predominantly through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
A few years ago, Buffett explained that he doesn’t have any problems with guilt due to his fortune and that he didn’t decide to give away virtually all of his money to clear his conscious. He added that he doesn’t really want much and that he dislikes the system of inherited wealth. His children therefore won’t inherit much of his wealth. They will inherit enough to be able to do whatever they want but according to Buffett, not as much to feel like doing anything.
Buffett’s Donations and Notable Philanthropic Projects
In 2006, Buffett pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth, with the vast majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He also pledged to give the Gates Foundation over $30 billion worth shares of Berkshire Hathaway which is the largest donation to charity of all times.
By giving most of his fortune to the Gates Foundation, he made a dramatic shift from his earlier statements about donating his money to his own charity. The latter was renamed in 2004 in honour of his deceased wife as Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation. However, Mrs. Buffett bestowed over $2.5 billion to the Foundation in her will, with her husband promising to give another $315 million.
In addition to donations made through the Gates and his own foundation, Buffett also made the world news headlines with his 2006 auction of Lincoln Town Car via eBay with which he raised over $2 million for the Girls, Inc. non-profit organisation which is focused on advancing girls’ confidence. One year later, he auctioned a lunch with himself on behalf of the Glide Foundation by which he raised over $650,000 for the San Francisco-based charity organisation. In 2008, he raised another $2.1 million for the Gilde Foundation by selling a five-day online lunch with himself. Over the following years, he continued auctioning lunch with himself for charity and raising over $5 million.
Together with Bill Gates and Marc Zuckerberg, Buffett also signed the so-called Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge by which they pledged to give away at least one half of their fortune and called other wealthy individuals to do the same.