Bill Gates Discusses Spending Buffett’s Billions

There are two particular partnerships in philanthropy that stand above all the others as far as the sheer amount of dollar impact is concerned, and Bill Gates consists of one half of each partnership. At a Vancouver TED conference, the philanthropic partnership of Bill and Melinda Gates discussed the other one, which are Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

Buffett and Gates are the driving forces behind the Giving Pledge, which is a movement looking to persuade the wealthiest people in the world to give away the majority of their fortunes by making a commitment to do so. Buffett plans to give away the majority of his fortune to the Gates foundation. At this time, Buffett is worth $58.2 billion.

“He was going to have his wife Susie give it all away, but tragically she passed away before he did,” said Gates during a Q&A session with Chris Anderson the TED director. Anderson wondered how Buffett decided to choose Bill Gates as the chief beneficiary of his fortune.

“He’s big on delegation,” said Gates while the crowd laughed on. “If he’s got somebody who’s doing something well and is willing to do it at no charge, maybe that’s OK.

“He’s big on delegation,” Gates replied, to laughs. “If he’s got somebody who’s doing something well and is willing to do it at no charge, maybe that’s OK.

“We were really stunned,” added Gates. “It allowed us to increase what we do quite dramatically.” (The Gates foundation is concentrating its efforts on fighting communicable diseases in Africa and improving the United States education system.)

Anderson had the opportunity to ask a number of questions about the other partnership as well. He wanted to know if their working relationship came under any strain once Bill stepped down from Microsoft’s day-to-day activities in 2008 when he decided to focus full-time on charitable work.

“I think actually, for the foundation employees – there was way more angst for them than for me,” said Melinda. “Some of them had angst, but it went away after about three months. For me the excitement of Bill putting his brain and his heart against these huge global problems, these inequities – that was exciting.”

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