Another summer, another hefty charitable donation from Warren Buffett. He once again beat his previous record, donating more than $2.86 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to a handful of charities on Wednesday. The gifts top the $2.84 billion he gave last July, which had bested the $2.8 billion he gave in 2014.
According to an SEC document filed Thursday, Buffett donated more than 19.6 million class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway — valued at $145.93 per share as of Wednesday’s close — to five foundations. The most notable recipient: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The largest foundation in the world, it focuses on causes like ending world poverty, improving U.S. schools and combating infectious diseases like HIV, polio and malaria. Gates recently launched a plan to give away more than 100,000 chickens to some of the world’s poorest people, who can breed and sell the animals to help lift themselves out of poverty. Buffet donated nearly $2.2 billion worth of shares to the Gates Foundation on Wednesday.
The investor also gave more than $215 million worth of stock to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the charity named for his late wife, which focuses on family planning programs and college scholarships. Buffett also donated about $150 million in Berskhire shares to each of his three children’s foundations — the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation and the NoVo Foundation — which are run by Howard, Susan and Peter Buffett, respectively.
This year’s gifts take Buffett’s fortune down to $65.6 billion. That’s just enough for him to remain the world’s third-wealthiest person, though the race is tightening. He is just $1.3 billion richer than Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who is ranked number four. Buffett’s net worth is $12 billion less than the world’s richest person, his friend Bill Gates.
In 2010 Buffett and Gates created the Giving Pledge, which encourages the world’s billionaires to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity. Since then 154 people have made the pledge, including David Rockefeller and Mark Zuckerberg. Buffett has vowed to give away 99% of his wealth in his lifetime or within ten years of his estate being settled. Wednesday’s donations bring his lifetime giving to more than $28.5 billion.