Warren Buffett has announced a pledge of $2.9 billion worth of stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as four foundations run by Buffett family members: the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the NoVo Foundation.
The 89-year-old Buffett has to date donated $37 billion worth of stock as part of his commitment to the Giving Pledge, founded by Buffett and Gates, which encourages fellow wealthy people to give away at least half of their wealth over their lifetimes. Currently, Buffett still holds $67 billion worth of stock.
The NoVo Foundation, led by Buffett’s son Peter and wife Jennifer, received criticism recently when it announced that it would be ending multi-year funding, reviewing its current grants, and letting go of a full programme team. As one of the largest funders of domestic and global women’s and girls’ issues, the announcement was met with confusion and disappointment. NoVo has not mentioned whether the new donation will ameliorate any of the planned cuts; however, it was likely an expected pledge before the cuts were announced, as Buffett makes annual donations.
As a condition of all his donations, Buffett urges his beneficiaries to cash in the stock and spend the money ‘in a prompt’ manner, rather than stashing the money away in endowment. Back in February, Buffett outlined his plans in an a letter to shareholders regarding the plans for his stake in Berkshire Hathaway after his death. He wrote that according to his will, none of his stock holdings will be sold after he dies, but rather would be distributed as charitable grants over a 12-15 year period.