Recently, the Omaha World-Herald reported that Buffett donated shares worth $12.7 million to seven charitable groups. The seven groups he donated to were not disclosed, but the donations ranged from $5.1 million to $24,100. He also regularly donates to the charities ran by his children and the Bill and Melinda Bill Gates Foundation as well.
However, it could easily be argued that in addition to being the world’s foremost investor, Buffett is also the world’s top philanthropist. The total amount that Buffett has donated exceeds $28 billion, and he vowed to give away the bulk of his fortune via the Giving Pledge in 2010. Additionally, when Buffett donates to charity, he doesn’t give cash—he donates Berkshire Hathaway stock.
Now, it might seem like an odd choice to be giving away shares of your company as a donation, but in reality, that’s part of what makes his donations more important. Berkshire Hathaway is an extremely successful company whose stocks frequently increase in price. This means that the stocks, if held, will continue to increase in value, making the donation continue to climb.
Of course, that means that the nonprofit would have to sit on stocks and let them continue to grow. Since Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t pay dividends, this is an easy thing for nonprofits as there is no excess money to have to reconcile with. However, it also means sitting on a vast amount of money in the hopes that it will continue to grow. The Omaha World-Herald reports, however, that most of the foundations and charities sell the shares on the open market.