Warren Buffett is resigning from his trustee post at the Gates Foundation. In addition, the 90-year-old mogul fulfilled half of a 2006 pledge to donate 100 percent of his Berkshire shares. The Oracle of Omaha investor had said he would give his shares away via annual gifts towards five foundations. He is now halfway through meeting that promise.
Thus far, Buffett’s 16 annual contributions towards those foundations have been worth $41 billion as they were dispersed over the years.
This week, Buffett announced that he would donate $4.1 billion of Berkshire Hathaway shares to the five foundations. Buffett is the largest shareholder of Berkshire and owns nearly 39 percent of the company’s Class A shares. In addition to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the other recipients are Sherwood Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, NoVo Foundation, and Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Before Buffett began donating the shares, he owned 474,998 Berkshire A shares. The number now stands at 238,624 shares which are worth around $100 billion.
In a statement, Buffett said, “Today is a milestone for me. In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of my net worth — to philanthropy. With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there.”
Buffett also went on to say, “For years, I have been a trustee — an inactive trustee at that — of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s. The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”
Along with Bill and Melinda Gates, Buffett created the Giving Pledge program, which requires that its participants donate more than 50 percent of their wealth.
Buffett said, “I’m optimistic. Though naysayers abound — as they have throughout my life — America’s best days most certainly lie ahead. Philanthropy will continue to pair human talent with financial resources. So, too, will business and government. Each force has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Combined, they will make the world a better place — a much better place — for future generations.”
Berkshire’s A-shares have seen a 20 percent rebound, hitting a record high during 2021. Much of its business fared and recovered well from the pandemic.