Investor Warren Buffett is giving away 85 percent of his fortune, estimated at $44 billion to five foundations, Fortune reports Five-sixths of the money will go to the $30 billion Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Gateses credit Buffett, says Bill, with having “inspired” their thinking about giving money back to society. Their foundation’s activities, internationally famous, are focused on world health — fighting such diseases as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis — and on improving U.S. libraries and high schools.
That’s a huge increase in funding for education. It represents the largest gift in philanthropic history. Buffett had said for years he’d give most of his fortune to philanthropy after his death, but decided to do it while he’s still alive.
My father knew Buffett many years ago — they’re both from Omaha — and had a chance to invest in one of Buffett’s first funds. My father said, “No thanks, Warren. I’ve got a family to support. I don’t have any extra money right now.” Oh, well.