Warren Buffett donates record $5.3 billion of Berkshire Hathaway shares to charity

Warren Buffett, one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, has made another substantial philanthropic contribution.

Warren Buffett, one of the world's wealthiest individuals, has made another substantial philanthropic contribution. This time, he donated $5.3 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities. This is his largest annual donation since he began this practice in 2006.

With this latest donation, Buffett's total contributions to these charities now reach approximately $57 billion. This includes the significant gifts made to family charities over the past two Novembers. The most recent donation, announced on Friday, consisted of about 13 million Berkshire Class B shares.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation received 9.93 million shares, adding to the more than $43 billion worth of Berkshire shares it has received from Buffett over the years.

Additionally, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after his late first wife, received 993,035 shares. Three charities run by his children—Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation—each received 695,122 shares.

At 93 years old, Buffett plans to give away over 99% of his fortune, amassed through his leadership at Berkshire Hathaway since 1965. His children will serve as executors of his will to ensure his philanthropic wishes are fulfilled.

Berkshire Hathaway, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is a massive conglomerate valued at approximately $880 billion. It owns a variety of businesses, including BNSF railroad and Geico car insurance, and holds significant stock in companies like Apple.

Despite his generous giving, Buffett still owns 14.5% of Berkshire's outstanding shares, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. Since 2006, he has given away more than half of his stock holdings. Forbes magazine estimates Buffett's net worth at $128.4 billion, making him the 10th richest person globally.

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Reflecting on his wealth, Buffett stated that he was worth about $44 billion when he began his donations. He attributed his current wealth to the benefits of compounding, wise capital deployment at Berkshire, and what he termed the "American tailwind."

Buffett, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, initiated the Giving Pledge, encouraging the world’s wealthiest individuals to commit at least half of their fortunes to charitable causes. Notable signatories include Sam Altman of OpenAI, Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation focuses on reproductive health. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation addresses hunger, conflict mitigation, including efforts in Ukraine, and public safety improvements.

The Sherwood Foundation supports nonprofits in Nebraska, while the NoVo Foundation emphasizes initiatives for girls and women.

Buffett's ongoing generosity highlights his commitment to using his vast wealth for the betterment of society, reinforcing his belief in the power of philanthropy to make a significant impact on the world.

Friday's report indicates that Berkshire Hathaway, based on the stocks Warren Buffett owns, has likely bought back very few or none of its own shares since April 19.

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Rebecca Shavit is the Good News, Psychology, Behavioral Science, and Celebrity Good News reporter for the Brighter Side of News.