Buffett donates more than $750 million to four charities

Buffett donates more than $750 million to four charities

The recipients didn't include the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, but instead of his annual gifts to charity each summer, the billionaire investor Warren Buffett donated more than $750 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock to the four foundations run by his family.

Since 2006 when he unveiled a plan to give away his fortune over time, Buffett has made annual donations to five charities, with the Gates Foundation receiving the biggest donations. Wednesday's donations mark the first time that the 92-year-old has made a second major gift within the same year.

A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Buffett gave 1.5 million Class B shares in the Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate he leads, named for his first wife, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. He also gave 300,000 Class B shares to the three foundations run by his children, the NoVo Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and the Sherwood Foundation.

In June he gave 11 million Class B shares to the Gates Foundation, 1.1 million B shares to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation and 770,218 shares to his children's three foundations.

It wasn't immediately clear what prompted the new donations this week, and Buffett didn't respond Wednesday to questions about them. The Gates Foundation and the Buffett family foundations that received the gifts didn't respond immediately to questions.

The only major change Buffett has made to his giving plans over the years came a decade ago when he increased the amount pledged to the foundations he ran because he was pleased with what they had done with his money.

Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation has a low profile, but it has been a major supporter of abortion rights and has made large gifts to Planned Parenthood and other groups over the years. Buffett hasn't announced any changes in his giving plans since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

Susie Buffett, 69, uses her Sherwood Foundation to strengthen early childhood education and support a number of projects around Buffett's hometown of Omaha, where she lives. Howard Buffett, 67, is helping farmers in impoverished nations produce more and working to end world hunger with his namesake foundation. Peter Buffett, 64, has dedicated his NoVo Foundation to empower women and girls worldwide through education, collaboration and economic development to end violence against women.

Buffett still controls more than 31 per cent of Berkshire's voting power even after these latest gifts.

Berkshire Hathaway is an eclectic conglomerate that owns more than 90 companies, including BNSF railroad, Geico insurance, several major utilities, and an assortment of manufacturing and retail firms, including Precision Castparts, Dairy Queen and Helzberg Diamonds. Berkshire owns major investments in Apple, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and other companies, as well as the companies it owns outright.