FORTUNE EXCLUSIVE: The world’s second richest man – who’s now worth $44 billion – tells editor-at-large Carol Loomis he will start giving away 85% of his wealth in July – most of it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Notice that this will still leave him with somewhere around $4 billion after all is said and done. I just thought I’d point that out for folks who aren’t as cynical as I am. Actually, though, I think this is a great thing Buffett is doing, and don’t want to belittle the upside. I know that $4 billion doesn’t buy what it used to, but I think Warren will still be able to live quite comfortably after giving so much away to help others. And remember that the man is an investing genius – he’ll still grow his wealth after this, and have figuratively tons of money to leave for more good works when he dies.
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 (a connection that began in 1991, when a mutual friend introduced Buffett and Bill Gates).
For all the bad things I say about Microsoft and Bill Gates, this foundation is truly a great work, and with Buffett’s extra donations, even more good can be done.