Warren Buffett, the legendary financier and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, says he reached a crucial milestone. He’s officially given away half of his company shares to charitable causes.
He did not clearly state why he was leaving the Gates Foundation board at this time and expressed his support for the foundation’s current CEO and its direction. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda filed for divorce in May after 27 years of marriage, but have pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.
The 21-year-old foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending more than $50 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combat poverty and diseases.
Last year, Buffett donated more than $2 billion worth of his Berkshire stock, to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
“For years I have been a trustee – an inactive trustee at that – of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said.
In his letter, Buffett said his late wife, Susan Thompson Buffett, had wanted to donate more money when they were young, but he held off. It was only after her death 17 years ago that he “stepped on the accelerator,” to donate as much as he can.
He encouraged other super-wealthy people to give away the bulk of their fortunes, writing “the easiest deed in the world is to give away money that will never be of any real use to you or your family”.
It seems like Buffett is retiring now and will work till he donates 99% of his income, which is his life’s ultimate goal.