Billionaire Buffett Promises Fortune to Gates Foundation

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Warren Buffett is giving away the bulk of his fortune, more than $30 billion, to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Buffett is the second-richest man in America, after Bill Gates.


Okay, let's go from the business of selling to the business of giving. Investor Warren Buffett announced yesterday that he is giving away most of his fortune, more than $30 billion.

Mr. MATTHEW BISHOP (Business Editor, Economist Magazine): This is one of the great philanthropic gestures of all time.

INSKEEP: And it's a move that surprised Matthew Bishop, of the magazine the Economist.

Mr. BISHOP: Buffett had very much taken the view that he liked running his business and didn't really want to bother very much with philanthropy. And although he was going to give most of his wealth, that was going to wait until after his death. And now he's decided that he wants the money to be put to use now, while he's still alive.

INSKEEP: What is just as startling is the recipient of the money. The world's second richest man is giving most of his money to the world's richest man, Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Or to be more precise, it's going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Journalist Matthew Bishop regards it as another of Buffett's clever investment moves. By giving his cash to an established and respected charity, he avoids wasting time and money starting up his own.

Mr. BISHOP: By doing this he's really now going to set himself up as one of the great innovators in philanthropy. He's probably the first great philanthropist ever to back a fellow philanthropist so effectively.

INSKEEP: A percentage of Warren Buffett's gift of billions will be paid out annually starting next month. Other beneficiaries are the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named in honor of his late wife, and three foundations run by each of his children.

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