Warren Buffett is making news Wednesday with the announcement that he is stepping down from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, offering no reason why he is leaving, other than making a statement about donating his wealth as he promised to do, back in 2006.
CBS News Reported:
Warren Buffett said he is stepping down from his role with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, noting in a statement that he has been an “inactive” trustee of the organization. His decision to step down comes at an uncertain time for the foundation as the Gates last month announced after 27 years of marriage.
The 90-year-old billionaire on Wednesday also said he has given away $4.1 billion’s worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares as part of his goal to donate 99% of his fortune. With the most recent donation, Buffett said he is “halfway there,” and he shared his thoughts on wealth and philanthropy in the statement.
“Today is a milestone for me,” Buffett said in the statement. “In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of my net worth — to philanthropy. With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there.”
“For years I have been a trustee — an inactive trustee at that — of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said. “The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”
Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their divorce in May. The couple along with Buffett were creators of the Giving Pledge, a program that requires participants to give away more than half of their wealth.
Buffett said his 16 annual contributions to the five foundations over the years were worth $41 billion when disbursed. Buffett is Berkshire’s largest shareholder, owning about 39% of the Class A shares, according to FactSet.
“I’m optimistic. Though naysayers abound — as they have throughout my life — America’s best days most certainly lie ahead,” Buffett said. “Philanthropy will continue to pair human talent with financial resources. So, too, will business and government. Each force has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Combined, they will make the world a better place — a much better place — for future generations.”
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News of the breakup between Buffett and Gates comes at the same time Gates is under scrutiny for other schemes, like food production.
Robert Kennedy was focused on Gates’s production of food in Africa.
Analysis of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s food + ag grants found majority of foundation’s funding goes to groups heavily skewed to technologies—completely ignoring knowledge, technologies + biodiversity Africa’s farmers already possess.https://t.co/t1aBO5Pkkw
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) June 21, 2021
Overall Gates is not having a good year so far.