The man who donated $37 Billion dollars to Charity!
Warren Edward Buffett (/ˈbʌfɨt/; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world’s wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world.
Buffett is called the “Wizard of Omaha”, “Oracle of Omaha”, or the “Sage of Omaha” and is noted for his adherence to the value investing philosophy and for his personal frugality despite his immense wealth. Buffett is also a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99 percent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation. On April 11, 2012, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, for which he completed treatment in September 2012.
The following quotation from 1988 highlights Warren Buffett’s thoughts on his wealth and why he long planned to re-allocate it:
I don’t have a problem with guilt about money. The way I see it is that my money represents an enormous number of claim checks on society. It’s like I have these little pieces of paper that I can turn into consumption. If I wanted to, I could hire 10,000 people to do nothing but paint my picture every day for the rest of my life. And the GDP would go up. But the utility of the product would be zilch, and I would be keeping those 10,000 people from doing AIDS research, or teaching, or nursing. I don’t do that though. I don’t use very many of those claim checks. There’s nothing material I want very much. And I’m going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.
From a NY Times article: “I don’t believe in dynastic wealth”, Warren Buffett said, calling those who grow up in wealthy circumstances “members of the lucky sperm club”.
In June 2006, he announced a plan to give away his fortune to charity, with 83% of it going to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He pledged about the equivalent of 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (worth approximately US$30.7 billion as of June 23, 2006), making it the largest charitable donation in history, and Buffett one of the leaders of philanthrocapitalism. The foundation will receive 5% of the total donation on an annualised basis each July, beginning in 2006. (Significantly, however, the pledge is conditional upon the foundation’s giving away each year, beginning in 2009, an amount that is at least equal to the value of the entire previous year’s gift from Buffett, in addition to 5% of the foundation’s net assets.) Buffett also will join the board of directors of the Gates Foundation, although he does not plan to be actively involved in the foundation’s investments.
Buffett once commented, “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing”.
This is a significant shift from previous statements Buffett has made, having stated that most of his fortune would pass to his Buffett Foundation. The bulk of the estate of his wife, valued at $2.6 billion, went to that foundation when she died in 2004. He also pledged $50-million to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, in Washington, where he has served as an adviser since 2002.
In 2006, he auctioned his 2001 Lincoln Town Car on eBay to raise money for Girls, Inc. In 2007, he auctioned a luncheon with himself that raised a final bid of $650,100 for the Glide Foundation which was won by Mohnish Pabrai and Guy Spier. On June 27, 2008, Zhao Danyang, a general manager at Pure Heart China Growth Investment Fund, won the 2008 5-day online “Power Lunch with Warren Buffett” charity auction with a bid of $2,110,100. Auction proceeds benefit the San Francisco Glide Foundation. The following year, executives from Toronto-based Salida Capital paid US$1.68 million to dine with Buffett. The June 9, 2012 auction for lunch with Buffett yielded a record figure of $3,456,789; the highest figure paid for lunch with the investor. The Glide auction’s winners traditionally dine with Buffett at New York’s Smith and Wollensky steak house. The restaurant donates at least $10,000 to Glide each year to host the auction lunch.
Bill Gates’s wife Melinda urged people to learn a lesson from the philanthropic efforts of the family that sold its home and gave away half of its value, as detailed in The Power of Half. On December 9, 2010, Buffett, Bill Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, signed a promise they called the “Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge”, in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over time, and invited others among the wealthy to donate 50% or more of their wealth to charity.