Warren Buffett, the billionaire whose fortune swelled this year with a surge in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US) shares, contributed a record $2 billion to the foundation created by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) co-founder Bill Gates.
Buffett, Berkshire’s chairman and chief executive officer, donated about 17.5 million Class B shares in his annual gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a statement today from his Omaha, Nebraska-based company. The donation beat his previous record stock gift of $1.8 billion to the foundation in 2008. The stock has climbed 29 percent this year to $115.42 at 1:11 p.m. in New York.
Buffett is a trustee of the foundation and the world’s third-richest man, with a net worth of about $61 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the wealthiest people. He has campaigned to promote charitable giving among the wealthy through the Giving Pledge initiative.
“The truth is I have never given a penny away that had any utility to me,” Buffett, 82, said last month at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. For millions of people who aren’t rich, donating money “really means they’re giving up a movie, or a dinner out, or if it’s a larger sum, maybe a trip to Disneyland.”
Buffett also donated about 1.75 million Class B shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Formed by the investor and renamed to honor his first wife, the foundation supports education and other causes.
He gave about 1.22 million shares each to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a family charity focused on poverty; the NoVo Foundation, led by Buffett’s son Peter and his wife; and the Sherwood Foundation, which funds projects focused on social justice in Nebraska, according to the statement.
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