Gates Foundation
This year, as part of his annual pledge to eventually contribute 500 million shares of the Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett recently donated nearly $2.2 billion worth of class B stocks in support of improving global health and embarking on a new challenge to assist U.S. education.

In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge, which rallied the world’s billionaires to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity. Since the pledge has been put into place, 154 affluent individuals have made the oath.

Gates acknowledges the possibility of failure in some projects, but remains optimistic, stating “we not only accept that [projects will fail] we expect it—because we think an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can’t afford to make.”

Bill and Melinda Gates are both optimistic about the future of the Foundation, which is aimed at alleviating extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries in addition to improving the failure of America’s education system.

According to a SEC document filed on Thursday, July 13, 2015, Buffett donated 14,968,423 shares of Class B Common Stock valued at $145.93 per share to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett also donated 1,047,785 shares of Class B Common Stock to foundations owned by his three children: the Sherwood Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the NoVo Foundation.

Warren Buffett believes philanthropy is associated with taking risks and remains steadfast and patient whenever Berkshire investments bear no fruit. “If you succeed in everything you’re doing in charity, you’re attempting things that are too easy,” Warren Buffett declared in 2011.

The philanthropist also donated $215 million worth of stocks to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which is named after his late wife. The main objective of the Susan Thompson Buffett foundation is to provide scholarships for eligible recipients within the Nebraska region on a competitive basis.

Buffett has vowed to give away 99 percent of his wealth in support of charitable causes and innovative solutions to end global poverty. After over 10 years of donating to the Gates foundation as well as other nonprofit organizations, Buffett’s fortune is now estimated at approximately $65.6 billion.

Buffett’s recent donation to the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, when added to the other donations made over his lifetime, brings his total donations to more than $28.5 billion.

Shanique Wright

Photo: Finance Buzz

Sara Blakely joins the Giving Pledge by donating half of her fortune. In doing so, Blakely, the inventor of Spanx, becomes the first female billionaire to pledge. The Gates Foundation also signed seven new additional billionaires along with Blakely.

Blakely said that Bill and Melinda Gates encouraged her to join and took her out to dinner to discuss their foundation.

Blakely has used her success to focus on helping girls and women. Recently, she donated $100,000 to The Empowerment Plan,a campaign in Detroit that helps to create jobs for homeless women by paying them to produce sleeping-bag coats for other people sleeping on the streets.

The eight other new Giving Pledge signatories include hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, real estate investor and Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross, telecoms guru Craig McCaw and wife Susan, coal mining mogul Joe Craft, British politician Lord Ashcroft, Sequoia Capital’s Mark Stevens and wife Mary, Koret Foundation head Ted Taube, and textile tycoon Samuel Yin.

– Essee Oruma
Source: Global Post
Photo: ABC News

Indian Billionaire Premji Joins The Giving Pledge
When you’ve topped Forbes billionaires list, there are only a few things left for you to achieve in this world, one of which is joining the Giving Pledge. Established in 2010 by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the Giving Pledge received much attention from the media because of its growing list of millionaire and billionaire members. The organization encourages its members to donate or endow at least half of their wealth to charities. India’s Azim Premji joins the Giving Pledge from his current position as 41st  on Forbes’ list, with a net worth of $16 billion, and has already made his first donation.

Perhaps a more appropriate word for Mr. Premji’s act of kindness would be ‘transfer’ instead of donating. Equaling about 295.5 million shares, or 12 percent of its total shares, the $2.3 billion donations went to the Azim Premji Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on education improvements and building schools throughout rural India. The money went directly into the trust of the organization, which Mr. Premji says “will utilize the endowment to fund various social, not-for-profit initiatives of the foundation, which are expected to scale significantly over the next few years”.

The organization has worked alongside the government to improve the quality of education and has built a university in the Indian state of Karnataka. With this funding, Mr. Premji hopes to be able to increase the staff of the foundation and be able to reach more rural communities.

For a man of his wealth and power, Mr. Premji, the first Indian to join the Giving Pledge, is setting an example for his fellow Indian billionaires, who altogether make up 4 percent of the 1110+ billionaires in the world. Coming from a country where poverty has been an inescapable reality, India’s billionaires hopefully feel a strong connection in helping their fellow countrymen not simply survive but become productive members of society. By focusing on education and starting with children, these sorts of efforts will foster a generation of skilled and innovative workers and entrepreneurs. Hopefully, they will be a generation with more chances of becoming world leaders and wealthy businessmen and women.

– Deena Dulgerian

Source: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Forbes