This week, Warren Buffett gave Berkshire Hathaway shares worth a total of $4.6 billion to five charitable organizations. The worth of his contributions over the previous 17 years, depending on the current stock price of Berkshire, is depicted in the following graph:
The well-known philanthropist and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway promised to gift around 85% of his almost 475,000 Class A shares of the company to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which bears their namesake, as well as to three other nonprofits founded by his three children.
He made the decision to give away 5% of the shares that were designated in 2006, then 5% of the shares that were left over in 2007, and so on. That organizational structure explains why his gifts have decreased every year, with the exception of 2013, when he increased the amount he gave to his children’s foundations.
Approximately 275,000 of Buffett’s “A” shares have already been converted into far more affordable and liquid “B” shares, which he then gave to the five groups as intended. Based on their value when received, the shares Buffett has given away are worth nearly $50 billion, which is more than Buffett’s own net worth in 2006. They would be worth nearly $130 billion now, all else being equal, based on Berkshire’s stock price, which has increased by more than five times since the gifting program started.
In other words, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, if Buffett had kept all of the shares rather than donating them, he would have a net worth of roughly $250 billion, far surpassing Elon Musk’s wealth of $236 billion. Buffett is rated eighth in the index even after his gifts, with a net worth of $113 billion.
The CEO of Berkshire completed half of his gifts two summers ago and has since sold around 54% of his stock. Buffett is the foundation’s biggest financial supporter and works to fight sickness, poverty, and unfairness all across the world.
Bill Gates tweeted on Thursday that Warren’s generosity “has made an impact on millions of lives” and “plays an enormous role in achieving the foundation’s ambitious goals.”