Buffett’s Bankrolling Billg

According to a Carol Loomis interview with Warren Buffett, Warren Buffett is giving $37-billion to charitable foundations, a significant chunk of which is going to the Gates Foundation.

Who knew Bill needed Warren to play social venture capitalist before he’d exit Microsoft? I’m kidding. Mostly.

All cynicism momentarily aside, I am in awe at this kind of giving. I really and truly hope it does good, even if the skeptic in me is uneasy with the whole idea of large charitable foundations.


  1. I guess old age can be defined when the cynicism takes hold.

  2. Franklin Stubbs says:

    Buying Berkshire stock is now good for brownie points in the afterlife–with intermediate financial gain to boot. Who can resist such a heavenly deal? As icing on the cake, we get two canonizations for the price of one.

  3. I have high hopes for this foundation. I think some basic principles of asset allocation and return on investment are what’s needed with most charities. This one does seem to think that way – ‘what problems are causing the most quality of life erosion and how can money help stop or control them?’ What would be great is if they could demonstrate their effectiveness in the future and allow others to donate money into the foundation. I simply hate giving money to charity because I know 80-90% of it is wasted.

  4. Potentially stupid question: Do large foundation shareholders throw their weight around and influence business decisions? If so, is this some way for Buffett to make sure he exerts some control from the grave?

  5. Nomail, if you hate giving to charities because 80 to 90% is wasted, you could look into giving to organizations like The Grameen Foundation that provide microfinancing to extremely poor people. The success rate of these microloans is very high and hence your money keeps benefiting more and more people.
    I am considering donating to them myself and will even link to them from SINLetter once I set up a Philanthropy page on my website.