Just when you think it may be impossible to eradicate Aids, poverty or just make any kind of significant dent in Global health, education and suffering the Light shines in. The top 2 most wealthy men in the world just leaped across- flew across the chasm and showed just how easy it is to not just give but give it all you got. It isn't easy to just float over the chasm with such ease if you don't have money but certaintly from what I see and from what I'm told anyway it CANbe much more difficult if you have acquired great wealth. The more you have the more you want to keep EVERYTHING just the way it is. But these two visionarys have shown us NOTHING will be as it was or is. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Indeed all things are possible where we are going if we just believe it so. -Jill
FORBES June 27, 2006
Bill Gates is admittedly a little nervous about the awesome gift bestowed upon his charity by Warren Buffett.
"Almost scary," is how the Microsoft chairman described the $31 billion donation from his friend and fellow bridge-playing enthusiast to the Gates Foundation, the charity he formed with his wife Melinda to combat serious disease and deficiencies in education.
"Making a mistake with my own money isn't the same as making a mistake with Warren's money," Gates told an audience of about 300 philanthropists, scientists and academics at the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan today.
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But Buffett, for his part, seems pretty confident that his friend will do just fine. Looking very relaxed at the Library's Celeste Bartos room, Buffett signed commitment letters to the Gates Foundation and to four other foundations that together will eventually absorb over 80% of his wealth. The other organizations are established in the name of his late wife, Susan Thompson, and his three children.
A long-ago conversation with former CBS Chief Executive Lawrence Tisch convinced him to establish separate foundations for his children rather than a single organization, to let each pursue separate passionate causes. All five foundations will see their assets double.
But three-quarters of his charity money is going to Gates.
"The time has come to give it all away," Buffett told the gathering.
The two richest men on earth are expanding their partnership from their beloved card playing to charity--the result being the world's biggest charitable foundation, worth some $60 billion. Buffett's initial donation will come in the form of Berkshire Hathaway Class B stock.
He's scheduled to pay the first installment of 602,500 shares this month, and then continue to give 5% each year hence. The gift could turn out to be worth even more, if the value of Berkshire Hathaway stock increases over time.
As a thank you, the Gates' presented Buffett with a leather bound copy of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations from their personal library.
One caveat for Buffett's contribution? That Bill and/or Melinda remain active with the foundation and continue to make the big decisions.
"Who can possibly do a better job dispersing this money?" Buffett said. "When you accumulate wealth, it makes sense to turn the money over to an investment manager who can manage it better than you can."
Gates, who recently announced his intention to curtail his role at Microsoft within two years to concentrate on his foundation, told the crowd that he and Buffett had been discussing the issue of giving away their money for ten years, though he never directly asked Buffett for money.
The primary goal of the Gates Foundation, he said, is to eliminate AIDS in his lifetime.
Ultimately, "Our goal is to eradicate the 20 leading diseases in the world," he said.