Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Wednesday announced he was resigning from his positions as trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The resignation comes as the charitable organisation grapples with upheaval created by the divorce of its two founders.
Today is a milestone for me,” Buffett said in a statement. “In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of my net worth — to philanthropy. With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there.” Buffett said his 16 annual contributions to the five foundations over the years were worth $41 billion when disbursed.
“For years I have been a trustee – an inactive trustee at that – of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said.
Notably, the investing doyen has no involvement in the endowment’s investment decisions, according to the foundation. Buffett has contributed more than $27 billion of his own money to the charity over the past 15 years. He’s one of the Gates Foundation’s three board members, alongside Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who announced last month they’re splitting after 27 years of marriage. The ex-couple, however, pledged to continue their philanthropic work together. The 21-year-old foundation has emerged as one of the spending more than $50 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.
Gates and Buffett pioneered “The Giving Pledge” campaign over a decade ago, urging dozens of U.S. billionaires to give at least half their fortunes to charity. According to a list of top-50 givers of last 100 years prepared by Hurun Report and EdelGive Foundation, Bill Gates and his now estranged wife Melinda who have donated USD 74.6 billion, Warren Buffet (USD 37.4 billion), George Soros (USD 34.8 billion) and John D Rockefeller (USD 26.8 billion), the list showed.