Warren Buffett wasn’t kidding when he says that he will be donating his lifetime earnings to charity, instead of holding his wealth. Buffett has always been known for his generosity and modest living, but now he has once again donated to a variety of charities. The amount? A staggering $3.6 billion.
In 2006 Buffett was classified as the richest man in the world, with an estimated wealth of over $62 billion. He pledged that he would donate 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Cass B shares over many years. This most recent donation is exactly that.
What Did Buffet Donate, Exactly?
Buffett donated $3.6 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway Inc stock to five different charities this week. The five he chose, he has donated to before. They are:
- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation
- Sherwood Foundation
- Howard G Buffet Foundation
- NoVo Foundation
Berkshire Hathaway Inc is a holding company that owns a mind-numbing amount of things. A holding company is basically a parent company. This ‘parent company’ owns and runs multiple different businesses, without really doing any business of their own.
Who exactly do they own? Their 100% owned companies include Duracell, Dairy Queen, Fruit of the Loom, Geico, Lubrizol, and more. They also own over 38% of Pilot Flying J which had a revenue of $21.2 billion in 2017 and over 25% of the Kraft Heinz Company, which had a revenue of over $26 billion 2018. Needless to say, these are big names and a lot of money.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc has been valued at roughly half a trillion, with Warren Buffett being the CEO and Chairman. Buffet has been the largest stakeholder since 1970.
How Do These Shares Work?
There are two types of shares within Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The first type is class A shares, which trade for more than $300,000. Yes, just one. These shares give the owner more voting power over company decisions, which is why they are so pricy.
The shares that Buffett is donating are not class A shares. Instead, he is donating class B shares, which trade for a more reasonable $200+. These shares offer less voting power and less ultimate decision making chances but are still worth a lot of money on the market.
The Giving Pledge
In 2010 Buffett, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, launched The Giving Pledge. All three are famous for saying that their wealth should not go to their children, but to those who are in need.
The Giving Pledge is a vow that was taken by over 200 of the world’s wealthiest people, asking them to donate a’ majority’ of their wealth to charity. Other famously wealthy people who have taken the pledge include Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, the ex-wife od Amazon CEO Mackenzie Bezos, and Elon Musk.
To date, Buffett has donated about $34 billion to charity. We can expect more donations like this in the coming years from him.