Warren Buffett donates record $5.3 billion Berkshire shares to charity

Reuters | June 28, 2024

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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) -Warren Buffett donated another $5.3 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities, his biggest annual donation since he began making them in 2006.

Buffett’s donation boosted his overall giving to the charities to about $57 billion, including to the family charities in the last two Novembers.

The latest donation, announced on Friday, included about 13 million Berkshire Class B shares.

Buffett donated 9.93 million shares to the Gates Foundation, and has donated more than $43 billion of Berkshire shares there overall.

He also donated 993,035 shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named for his late first wife, and 695,122 shares to each of three charities led by his children Howard, Susan and Peter: the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Buffett, 93, plans to give away more than 99% of the fortune he built at Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire, which he has run since 1965, with his children serving as executors of his will.

Berkshire is an approximately $880 billion conglomerate that owns dozens of businesses including the BNSF railroad and Geico car insurance, and stocks such as Apple.

Buffett still owns 14.5% of Berkshire’s outstanding shares, a Friday regulatory filing shows, despite having given away more than half of his stock since 2006.

His $128.4 billion fortune makes him the world’s 10th-richest person, according to Forbes magazine.

In a statement, Buffett said he was worth about $44 billion when the donations began, but that the benefits of compounding, “simple and generally sound capital deployment” at Berkshire, and the “American tailwind” produced his current wealth.

Buffett, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates also pioneered the Giving Pledge, in which 245 people like OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Michael Bloomberg, Carl Icahn, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg committed at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation works in reproductive health. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation works to alleviate hunger, mitigate conflicts including in Ukraine, and improve public safety. The Sherwood Foundation supports Nebraska nonprofits, and the NoVo Foundation has initiatives focused on girls and women.

Friday’s filing suggests based on Buffett’s holdings that Berkshire has repurchased little or none of its own stock since April 19.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Chizu Nomiyama, Nick Zieminski, Richard Chang and Diane Craft)


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