He may the second richest-person in America, but his heart of gold is second to none this week. Warren Buffett has once again displayed immense generosity by donating 16.6 million class-B shares of his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Through his annual gift to the charity of his close friend, and America’s richest man, Bill Gates, Buffett urged wealthy CEOs and individuals of the country to give more from their massive fortunes.
Buffett continues to live up to his “Giving Pledge.” In a letter written in 2006, he outlined his plan to donate most of his fortune to charitable causes. Buffet also gave money to other charity foundations, such as the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (named in honor of his late wife), which focuses on providing merit scholarships to deserving students. In addition, separate charities run by his children have also benefited from his altruistic nature, each receiving charity gifts worth $150 million.
Since signing up for the Giving Pledge - according to which Buffett will give away 99% of his wealth by the end of his life - he has given away almost $23 billion for various charitable causes, but the bulk of his donation has gone to the foundation co-chaired by Mr. and Mrs. Gates. His donations caused Buffett to drop to number 4 on Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest individuals - but that has had little impact on the tycoon’s generosity.
Explaining his philanthropic beliefs last month, Buffett was quoted as saying, “I will give 99 percent, but the other 1 percent is way more than enough. I have never given a dollar that caused me to give up something I wanted to buy."
The tycoon has also urged younger billionaires, such as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc. (FB), to donate a majority of their wealth for altruistic causes. Zuckerberg’s popularity among the influential Gen-Y and millennials means that his actions are likely to prompt them to follow suit, and bring about a social change in the country.