The United States is home to many of the world’s richest people: Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Charles Koch, David Koch, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffett – and the list goes on in near-perpetuity. Most – if not all – extremely wealthy people are involved in philanthropic activities; some of them have pledged seemingly-crazy proportions of their nest eggs to good causes, though the general public just doesn’t understand how wealthy they are.
What pops to mind whenever someone shares with the world that they’re soon going to donate one billion dollars – United States Dollars, at that? Probably one or more emotions best described as a feeling somewhere between awe and jealousy.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of social media giant Facebook, shared a few years ago that he was going to give away $1 billion to charity; however, at the time, the pledged sum was only five percent – that’s only 36 cents of an hour’s work at federal minimum wage.
Warren Buffett, on the other hand, pledged an astounding 99 percent of his personal fortune to charity before or at the time he dies. The 87-year-old is worth some $84 billion as of July 2018, making the one percent he plans to claim – assuming he gives it all away before he passes – worth roughly $840 million.
No matter how one slices it, $840 million is still an enormous amount of wealth. Either way, knowing that one of the world’s wealthiest people who lives in the world’s wealthiest country that happens to have the world’s worst income inequality is calming, relaxing, and reassuring that humanity isn’t so bad after all – for a few seconds, at least.
Buffett recently gave away $3.4 billion – but to who?
Back in 2006, Warren Buffett wrote a handful of open letters that collectively indicated he’d give away 99 percent of his fortune; they contained plans to convert X-amount of Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares into cheaper Class B shares – he’d then give away the latter.
Just eight days ago, Buffett converted 11,867 Class A shares into 17,696,780 of their Class B counterparts. They were split between the NoVo Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation – that’s a lot of foundations!
Thus far, he’s given away 43 percent of his pledged amount.