It seems that Warren Buffett is domainating the news lately. According to Fortune Magazine, he’s planning to give away 85% of his wealth, mostly to Bill Gates through his foundation.
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 $30 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose principals are close friends of Buffett’s.
Although Buffett has said he plans to give away his money at death, it seems he’s revising his plan. From an interview, here’s what Buffett says about he and his wife (Susie) giving money to their kids before their foundations:
Certainly neither Susie nor I ever thought we should pass huge amounts of money along to our children. Our kids are great. But I would argue that when your kids have all the advantages anyway, in terms of how they grow up and the opportunities they have for education, including what they learn at home – I would say it’s neither right nor rational to be flooding them with money.
Interviewer: From the fact that you’ve given your kids money before to set up foundations and are planning to give them more now, I gather you don’t think that kind of flooding them with money is wrong.
No, I don’t. What they’re doing with their foundations is giving money back to society – just where Susie and I thought it should go. And they aren’t just writing checks: They’ve put enormous thought and effort into the process.
I’m very proud of them for the way they’ve handled it all, and I have no doubt they’re going to keep on the right track.
Not only does Warren Buffett have enough money to fund his foundation and give to others including Bill Gates’ foundation, he also has enough to pass along to his children so they can manage their own foundations. That is pretty impressive, but what’s more impressive is that the money is used for the improvement of society in some form.
Updated October 27, 2007 and originally published June 25, 2006.