> Warren Buffett Blog: Warren Buffett donates $2.2 billion

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Warren Buffett donates $2.2 billion

Warren Buffett donated about $2.2 billion of stock in his annual gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, betting that risk-takers at the group will make breakthroughs in global health and US education even as they acknowledge that some efforts will be unsuccessful.

According to Bill Gates, "Some of the projects we fund will fail. We not only accept that, we expect it — because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can't afford to make. As we learn which bets pay off, we have to adjust our strategies and share the results so everyone can benefit."

Buffett, 85, contributed 15 million class B shares of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to the foundation on Wednesday, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. He made a pledge in 2006 to hand over a total that equates to 500 million shares, and each year he gives 5 per cent of the remaining total. Through last year, he donated more than $17 billion of stock to the foundation.

The annual sums have often climbed because of gains in the share price. While he is known for looking for a margin of safety with Berkshire's investments and often faults himself when his stock wagers sour, Buffett is more tolerant of bets going bad in philanthropy.

"If you succeed in everything you're doing in charity, you're attempting things that are too easy," the Berkshire chairman and chief executive officer said in 2011.

The Gates Foundation has donated more than $36 billion, including for projects that expand access to immunisations in developing countries and provide financial services to poor communities.

Bill Gates, the 60-year-old co-founder of Microsoft, has acknowledged it's been more difficult to make advances in US education than in improving mortality rates for children. Buffett also donated 1.5 million shares on Wednesday to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which is named after his first wife, who died in 2004. His three children's foundations received 1.05 million shares each this week.