Warren Buffett, the legendary investor known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” recently announced that he has donated roughly $4 billion worth of his conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway’s stock to charitable foundations for his 17th annual summer gift.
That brings his total lifetime giving to a record $48 billion.
The recipients of the shares are the same five foundations he’s given to every year since 2006.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, from which Buffett stepped down as an inactive trustee last June, received roughly $3.1 billion of Berkshire stock.
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, founded by the Oracle’s late wife, received shares worth roughly $300 million, while three other charitable organizations set up by his three children received stock worth roughly $200 million each: the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.
Buffett’s latest gift further solidifies his place as the likely biggest philanthropist of all time.
To date, as he reached his 92nd birthday on August 30th 2022 Warren Buffett had given away $46.1 billion to charity, outpacing runners-up Bill and Melinda Gates, with whom he co founded the Giving Pledge in 2010, by just over $10 billion.
He is the first person in history to have given $48 billion away.
Much of Buffet’s lifetime giving—amounting to some $2 billion to $3 billion worth of stock annually in recent years—has gone to the Gates’ foundation, which has put it to work on poverty and healthcare initiatives in developing countries and education in the U.S.
Buffett, the world’s fifth richest person, was worth over $103 billion before taking into account his latest gift.
Warren Buffett continues to help fund and support his family’s individual foundations which include Susan Buffett’s Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Susan Alice Buffett’s Sherwood Foundation, Howard Graham Buffett’s Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and Peter Buffett’s NoVo Foundation.
Warren Buffett was also supportive of his sister Doris Buffett’s Letters Foundation and Learning By Giving Foundation.
The 92-year-old investor said he now owns 229,016 Class A Berkshire shares (worth about $95.2 billion)–meaning he has donated just over half the 474,998 shares he owned in June 2006, when he first pledged to give nearly all of it away.
But Berkshire’s soaring stock is making it hard for Buffett to make good on his pledge—he’s still worth more than twice what he was 16 years ago.
Mr. Buffett outlined his motivation to give in his founding letter for the Giving Pledge when he wrote:
“My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.)”
“My luck was accentuated by my living in a market system that sometimes produces distorted results, though overall it serves our country well. I’ve worked in an economy that rewards someone who saves the lives of others on a battlefield with a medal, rewards a great teacher with thank-you notes from parents, but rewards those who can detect the mispricing of securities with sums reaching into the billions. In short, fate’s distribution of long straws is wildly capricious.”
“The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others. That reality sets an obvious course for me and my family: Keep all we can conceivably need and distribute the rest to society, for its needs.”