Warren Buffett Pledging $54 billion to charity

Submitted by Marco on 25 June, 2006 - 14:26

The world’s second richest man, Warren Buffett, is pledging 84 per cent of his fortune to charity - that’s about $54 billion. In an interview with Fortune magazine 75 year old Buffet planned to give away more than $54 billion in stock in his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm, starting in July. Warren Buffet is the chief executive and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, owning 474,998 Class A shares in the company, a stake of nearly 31 percent that was worth nearly $US44 billion in late June, Fortune said. Fortune noted that Buffett will convert the Class A shares that he owns in Berkshire to Class B stock, and then distribute the Class B shares for each of the five chartiable foundations. Fortune magazine:

"We were sitting in a Manhattan living room on a spring afternoon, and Warren Buffett had a Cherry Coke in his hand as usual. But this unremarkable scene was about to take a surprising turn.

"Brace yourself," Buffett warned with a grin. He then described a momentous change in his thinking. Within months, he said, he would begin to give away his Berkshire Hathaway fortune, then and now worth well over $US40 billion.

"Buffett has pledged to gradually give 85% of his Berkshire stock to five foundations. A dominant five-sixths of the shares will go to the world's largest philanthropic organization, the $US30 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose principals are close friends of Buffett's (a connection that began in 1991, when a mutual friend introduced Buffett and Bill Gates).

"The Gateses credit Buffett, says Bill, with having "inspired" their thinking about giving money back to society. Their foundation's activities, internationally famous, are focused on world health -- fighting such diseases as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis -- and on improving U.S. libraries and high schools."