Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2012 image

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in 2012. Photo: Bloomberg

Warren Buffett, the second-richest person in the United States, made his largest single charitable contribution ever when he donated $US2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. gave 16.6 million Class B shares Monday in an annual gift to the foundation, where he is a trustee, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday. The donation beat last year’s record gift of $US2 billion, when he gave 17.5 million shares. The stock has gained 8.8 percent this year through the close of trading yesterday to $US128.98.

Buffett, 83, has vowed through the Giving Pledge initiative to give away most of his net worth, which is more than $US60 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, a daily ranking of the world’s wealthiest people.

Along with Microsoft co-founder Gates, the world’s richest man, he has urged other ultra-wealthy people to give away their money.

“I will give 99 per cent, but the other 1 per cent is way more than enough,” Buffett said June 9 at the Edison Electric Institute annual convention in Las Vegas.

“I have never given a dollar that caused me to give up something I wanted to buy.”

Most of Buffett’s donated money goes to the Gates Foundation, which focuses on hunger, poverty and education.

He earmarked 10 million Class B Berkshire shares for the Seattle- based charity in 2006 and gives 5 percent of the remaining total each year.

The shares were split 50-1 in 2010.

The Washington Post

Henry Sapiecha