Warren Buffett is no stranger to wealth creation.
He's also no stranger to wealth donation.
Here's why Warren Buffett just donated $3.4 billion and how his philanthropy is shaping the world.
Warren Buffet: A $3.4 Billion Donation
Buffett's significant gift, which is currently valued at about $3.4 billion, is per his 2006 letters to pledge Berkshire Hathaway stock for charitable causes that create meaningful impact and social good.
To make this year's contribution, Buffett converted 11,867 of his Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares into 17,800,500 Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares. Of these Class B shares, 17,696,780 have been donated to five foundations:
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation;
- Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation;
- Sherwood Foundation;
- Howard G. Buffett Foundation; and
- NoVo Foundation.
With this contribution, Buffett has now donated about 43% of his 2006 Berkshire holdings to these foundations. The total value of the gifts, at the time of the donation and including this current gift, is approximately $31 billion.
Buffett's gift, however, is part of a broader philanthropic strategy that has inspired billionaires around the world to give away their fortunes to help create positive, social change.
Top 4 Questions About Warren Buffet's Philanthropy Strategy
Buffett's donation is part of an ongoing financial commitment that began with The Giving Pledge, which he founded with Bill and Melinda Gates.
Here are more details on Buffett's giving strategy and The Giving Pledge -- and how it's helping to create impact through philanthropy.
1. How much Berkshire stock will Buffett donate?
Buffett, who has never sold a share of Berkshire Hathaway stock, plans to give away all of his Berkshire shares to philanthropy 10 years after his estate is settled, according to Berkshire Hathaway.
2. What inspired Buffett to make contributions to foundations, rather than direct giving to causes he champions?
As Buffett explained in 2007, he preferred to donate to the foundations of family members and Bill Gates who he trusts, are smart, energized and who are doing good work with their own money.
3. What is the Giving Pledge and who else is involved?
Created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, The Giving Pledge is a "commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back."
As of 2018, there are 183 pledgers from 22 countries.
In addition to Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, some of the other pledgers include:
- Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg)
- Richard and Joan Branson (Virgin)
- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan (Facebook)
- Ray and Barbara Dalio (Bridgewater)
- Paul Allen (Microsoft)
- Ted Turner (Turner Broadcasting, CNN)
- Nathan and Elizabeth Blecharczyk (Airbnb)
- Reed Hastings and Patty Quillin (Netflix)
- David Rubenstein (Carlyle)
- Pete Peterson (Blackstone)
- Steve and Jean Case (AOL)
- Arthur Blank (Home Depot)
- Sarah Blakely (Spanx)
- Robert Smith (Vista Equity Partners)
- Tom Steyer and Kat Taylor (Farallon Capital)
Each pledger must be a billionaire and pledge to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations either during their lifetime or in their will. While the pledge is a moral commitment, it is not a binding, legal contract.
4. What are the types of causes that signatories to The Giving Pledge support?
The philanthropic causes are wide ranging and include poverty alleviation, refugee aid, disaster relief, global health, education, women and girls’ empowerment, medical research, arts and culture, criminal justice reform and environmental sustainability, among others.
Beware: Charitable Scams
When there are good hearts, there are often those who try to take advantage.
The Giving Pledge has faced scammers as have many other legitimate charitable and non-profit organizations.
Here are 5 tips to avoid charity scammers to ensure that your philanthropic gifts remain in safe hands:
- Don't click on links in emails asking for money. Instead, visit the website directly to make a contribution
- Be careful if you are asked to wire money to a charity.
- Contact the organization to verify if their email is legitimate before sharing personal information
- Don't share financial information if the charity has called you unsolicited. You can always call them back at the phone number listed on their official website.
- Don't share personal and financial information in online forms sent in an unsolicited emails.
With these tips, you'll avoid the scammers and be on a better financial path to give back and be like Buffett.