WASHINGTON, June 23 (AP) — After 17 years of steady giving, Warren Buffett has so far donated a total of $50.7 billion a year to honor his commitment to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Historic multi-billion dollar commitments from four foundations tied to his family. Chronicle statistics. On Wednesday, he announced his latest annual pledge to deliver.
In June 2006, Buffett became the largest donor in history when he committed to the Gates Foundation to buy 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares (worth about $36.1 billion at the time) and another The Gates Foundation donated 1 million Berkshire shares (valued at about $3.6 billion at the time). The foundation, named after his late first wife Susan Thompson Buffett, donated 350,000 shares (worth about $1.3 billion each at the time) to his three children, Susan, Howard and Foundation created by Peter Buffett.
Combined, the five commitments totaled more than $43.5 billion at the time. In 2010, Buffett and other Berkshire shareholders approved a stock split that dramatically increased the number of shares Buffett has given to the five foundations in the years since.
With these latest payments, he has donated nearly $39.3 billion to the Gates Foundation, nearly $4.2 billion to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and donated nearly $4.2 billion to the Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Novo Foundation each donated more than $2.4 billion.
Although Buffett has gone beyond his original commitment, a spokesman for Buffett told The Chronicle that he will continue to make payments to the five foundations throughout his life, as he promised in a 2006 statement announcing his commitment .
When Buffett announced his large commitment to the Gates Foundation, he said he did so because he believed the Gates Foundation would make good use of the money.
In 2006, Buffett told Fortune: “I don’t think I’m as fit to be a philanthropist as Bill and Melinda are. Whatever you want to do, what’s more logical than finding someone more capable than them?” ?” Are you going to do this?
The idea was enthusiastically endorsed by philanthropy experts in 2006, and it’s still revered today. Philanthropy historian Benjamin Soskis said Buffett’s decision to give the money to an organization he believed handled it better than him was “innovative,” and he hopes others will follow Buffett’s lead.
“If more wealthy donors embraced this, it could really have a huge impact on the industry because it would focus money on smaller and smaller areas,” Soskis said. “It’s a very interesting idea, but it has not been widely accepted.”
Phil Buchanan, director of the Center for Effective Philanthropy, said Buffett’s example remains influential more than 15 years later because it shows wealthy donors that having tens of billions of dollars doesn’t mean they Must achieve their philanthropic goals by creating a new foundation. They will remain around long after they are gone.
“He showed people that there are existing institutions that you can focus on, whether it’s a foundation (in his case) or a lot of different giving vehicles or the nonprofits themselves,” Buchanan said. “I think it’s very healthy and positive.”
Buffett laid out the Gates Foundation’s pledge to receive 5 percent of the pledged shares each year beginning in 2006. He stipulated that Bill Gates or Melinda France Gates “must remain active and actively involved in the policy development and management of the foundation” to ensure the interests of the foundation. Continue to receive annual payments. He also said that the annual expenditure of the Gates Foundation must be the donation amount of the previous year plus 5% of the net assets. The excess expenditure can be carried forward, and the insufficient part can be made up in the next year. Buffett, who joins the Gates Foundation board, has honored his pledge with a gift every summer since the announcement.
By making the Gates Foundation one of the world’s wealthiest funders, Buffett’s pledge triggered a power shift within the foundation, philanthropy experts say: The Gates Foundation rises to the top, while some traditional funders find themselves in power weakened. It also puts the Gates Foundation under the microscope of public scrutiny.
“Buffett has turned a large foundation into a behemoth, much larger than its peers,” Soskis said. Transformation and expansion of its bureaucracy and ambitions, so it turned an already very large foundation into what it is today, a manifestation of massive philanthropic funding, both for critics and supporters. “
It also exacerbates existing questions about the power dynamic between foundations and grantees, Buchanan said, which he believes has helped bring about some good changes over time in a way.
“This self-reflection has led to more calls for a different type of approach, a more trust-based approach,” Buchanan said. “Over the years, you’ve seen a consistent call for more unfettered support for organizations , and reduce funders’ control over organizational decisions such as budget allocations.”
In the spring of 2021, shortly after the Gateses announced their divorce, Buffett resigned from the Gates Foundation board. He made no mention of the divorce in a statement announcing his resignation, but said he had decided to leave the funders board after leaving every company board except Berkshire Hathaway.
While Buffett’s historic commitment to the Gates Foundation dwarfs his commitments to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and its three children’s funders, Buffett is just as intentional when it comes to giving to these entities, and Allocations to each entity have been made annually since 2006. After moving in 2012, he doubled down on his original commitment to the Children’s Foundation, saying in a statement that he was impressed by their donations and that their philanthropic work “exceeded (his) very high expectations”. (Associated Press)
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