When we think about the most generous donations made by philanthropists in the United States, we must think about Warren Buffett, better known as the Oracle of Omaha. The octogenarian businessman and investment guru is responsible for some of the biggest contributions ever made in the U.S history to charitable causes. In this article, Patrick Dwyer will talk about Warren Buffett and his impressive work as a philanthropist.
Born to Howard and Leila Buffett (a stockbroker and a housewife) on August 30, 1930, in Omaha, Nebraska. Warren demonstrated an open interest for financial and business matters early in his life. Working hard with his dad in the stock market since the age of 11, Warren always showed no laziness when it came to making business.
By the age of 13, Buffett started his own businesses as a paperboy who used to sell his own horse racing tip sheet. When he was 14 years old, he decided to invest earnings from his multiple endeavors in 40 acres of land, which he would later rent for a profit.
During his youth, Mr. Buffett he started many ventures, constantly plotting new ways to make money. He went to the University of Nebraska to get a bachelor degree and earned a graduate degree as a Master of Science in Economics at Columbia Business School.
Warren was Benjamin Graham pupil, who was known as the father of value investing. Thanks to his teachings, Mr. Buffett created different companies, bought some undervalued ones and became a millionaire thanks to his keen eye to identify and invest in struggling companies with an outstanding growing potential.
He has invested in the textile industry (Berkshire Hathaway), massive media (The Washington Post), insurance companies (GEICO) and oil (Exxon) among other institutions. Always spinning seemingly poor investments into gold.
Mr. Buffett has been director of the Coca- Cola Company, Citigroup Global Markets Holdings, Graham Holdings Company and The Gillette Company.
In 2012, Buffett said publicly that he had prostate cancer and began radiation treatment in July, finishing it successfully in November. No matter his health condition, he never stopped working hard, buying H. J. Heinz with the private equity group 3G Capital for $28 billion. Later additions to the Berkshire Hathaway stable included Duracell (battery maker) and Kraft Foods Group, that later merged with Heinz in 2015 to create the third-largest food and beverage company in North America.
Buffett’s philosophy states that his best way to contribute to charitable causes is by building the largest fortune possible during his lifetime and then giving most of it away to different foundations at the end of his life. He does not believe in dynastic wealth and sincerely rely on his idea of giving all of his Berkshire Hathaway stocks to philanthropic foundations.
Warren stated in 2010 that he would donate 99% of his fortune to different foundations, with the largest part of it going to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he currently is a board member, however he is not involved in running the foundation since he prefers to invest his talents in producing more money to donate to the foundations he favors.
Support to Gates Foundation
Bill Gates is another billionaire encouraging the wealthiest individuals of America to donate a portion of their fortunes to charity. He created the Gates Foundation which supports global health, development and education in the United States.
Thanks to the exemplary job of the Gated Foundation, Warren Buffett decided to use his fortune to upscale its work rather than funnel money into his own foundation. Prove to this is that Buffett has pledged 10 million Class B stock of Berkshire Hathaway to the Gates Foundation, with a total 30% of the company stock donated to the foundation and adding up 4% more each year.
Buffett Family Foundations
In addition to supporting the Gates Foundation, Buffett has promised Berkshire Hathaway stocks to each single one of his children’s foundations, worth more than $2 billion each. His foundations include Peter and Jennifer Buffett’s NoVo foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and Susan Buffett’s Sherwood Foundation. Every foundation focuses on different matters, from empowering adolescents to work for their communities to solving education issues.
Mr. Buffett not only plans to donate his money, his is concerned about his money having a multiplier effect. For this reason, he has raised more than $5.5 million in auctions launched by himself.
Warren Buffett has also contributed with more than $50 million to the Nuclear Threat Initiative, founded by Ted Turner and Sam Nunn. Also, he has made contributions to a wide range of organizations including Smile Train, the Animal Rescue Foundation, the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness and the Make A Wish Foundation.
To read more about Mr. Buffett’s contributions, you can click here.