I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Economics Report.
In the past, investor Warren Buffett was known for making money, not giving it away. On June twenty-sixth, Mister Buffett changed all that when he announced a huge gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mister Buffett said he would give away about eighty-five percent of his stock in Berkshire Hathaway, the company he has built for more than thirty years.
The value of the gift is based on the price of Berkshire stock. It is currently estimated at about thirty-seven thousand million dollars. Mister Buffett says he plans to give a total of ten million class B shares in his company to the Gates Foundation. Five percent of those shares will be given each year starting this month. This year’s gift is about one point five thousand million dollars.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was formed in two thousand. Bill Gates is well known as the world’s wealthiest man. He started and is the largest shareholder of Microsoft, the largest computer software company in the world.
The Gates Foundation currently holds more than twenty-nine thousand million dollars. It gave away about one point three thousand million dollars last year. The foundation mainly gives money to solve world health problems, ease poverty and increase technology among people in developing countries.
Mister Buffett announced his gift at the New York City Public Library. He said he believed in giving something back to society. He said he thought the Gates Foundation could do a better job of giving his money away than he could. He said he thought Bill and Melinda Gates could take on large projects that could help all of humanity.
Mister Buffett’s gift is unusual not only for its size. It also comes with several conditions. First, either Bill or Melinda Gates must remain alive and active in running their foundation. The foundation must continue to be a non-profit group that does not pay taxes. And, the foundation must spend five percent of its total money each year, including all of Mister Buffett’s yearly gift.
Mister Buffett has also promised large gifts to four other foundations established by him and his wife.
Warren Buffett is one of the world’s most successful investors. Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company, designed to hold stock of other companies.
This VOA Special English Economics Report was written by Mario Ritter. Our reports are online at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.