DENVER — It’s one thing to contribute heavily to charitable organizations, and an entirely different thing to inspire people to do the same. Warren Buffett does both. The second richest man in the world, Buffett has endeavored to give a large portion of his wealth to a variety of organizations, both domestically and internationally-oriented, while inspiring others to channel their excess funds towards a good cause.
Basing his large monetary success on smart investing, Buffett’s charitable donations have blossomed into a sizable list with more than sizable contributions. On the receiving end of these gifts are organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NoVo Foundation and Girls, Inc.
In this year alone, Buffett gave $2.8 billion to charity, with the largest portion going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which culminated in $13 billion for Gates’ efforts. Over the course of his investing career, Buffett has donated a grand total of $25 billion.
Currently worth about $58.7 billion, Buffett has pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth.
His involvement with the Gates’ Foundation does not stop at donations; the three individuals developed what is now called the Giving Pledge. It is an initiative that encourages the world’s billionaires to contribute more than half of their wealth to charity.
These donations can either be made now, or be distributed in the person’s will.
When Buffett and the Gates developed this idea, their goal was to bring together those with sufficient money to make a huge impact, and get them invested in something that matters. With over a hundred billionaires having taken the pledge thus far, billions of dollars have been donated to causes that can make a difference around the world.
With the Giving Pledge and countless charities under his belt, Buffett has acquired some wisdom about the philanthropy business. He remains aware that when people are trying to choose a charity to donate to, there is a lot of uncertainty about how effective the donation will be.
“Business is easy, because the market tells you whether you’re right or wrong,” Buffett said. “But with philanthropy, you can keep doing something that doesn’t make any sense and there’s no playback from the market.”
When there are people living on a dollar a day across the globe, the idea of someone worth 58.7 billion dollars donating half of his wealth to improve people’s lives means a huge increase in the number of options available to the impoverished. Whether it goes toward empowering women, improving global health or getting people the food they need, Warren Buffett’s donations have made a large impact on millions of lives, and will continue to do so.
“The important thing is that you feel good about it when you’ve done it,” Buffett said.
– Maggie Wagner
Sources: Forbes 1, The Huffington Post, Look to the Stars, Forbes 2, The Giving Pledge
Photo: Business Insider