Warren Buffett recently contributed another $4.1 Billion to five foundations. Following are his comments on philanthropy and philanthropists:
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.
In June of 2006, I owned 474,998 “A” shares. Now, I own 238,624 shares, worth about $100 billion. All remain destined for philanthropy. Having reached the midway point of my plan, I would like to supply a bit of history and suggest a few subjects for further thought by philanthropists, government and the public.
(1) My personal situation:
The easiest deed in the world is to give away money that will never be of any real use to you or your family. The giving is painless and may well lead to a better life for both you and your children.
The second step of disbursing huge sums is more challenging, particularly when the goal is to focus on crucial problems that have long been difficult to conquer or even dent. The specter of weapons of mass destruction remains undiminished. Can private philanthropy temper the threats to society that cyber is serving up?
My own case illustrates the first, more pleasant, point. Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do. I’ve made no sacrifice nor has my family. Compound interest, a long runway, wonderful associates and our incredible country have simply worked their magic. Society has a use for my money; I don’t.
Please understand that these remarks are no swan song; I continue at my enjoyable job, doing what I like, aided by associates I like and working to deploy the savings of people who have long trusted me. I still relish being on the field and carrying the ball. But I’m clearly playing in a game that, for me, has moved past the fourth quarter into overtime…
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