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Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are bridge partners and have worked together in many ways. Bill Gates sits on the board of Berkshire Hathaway, and although many years younger than Warren Buffett and in a completely different industry, is on very good terms with Buffett. Warren has also never invested in Microsoft, largely because as he notes, he never invests in companies he does not understand; software was out of Buffett’s circle of competence, and he carefully stayed away from making speculative bets despite the strong growth trajectory Microsoft was on.

Bill Gates Warren Buffett

The two developed a great friendship that eventually led to one of the biggest monetary gifts in history – in 2006, Warren decided to give away 85% of his wealth to five foundations: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, the Susan Buffett Foundation, the Howard Buffett Foundation, and the Peter Buffett Foundation. The bulk of his giving went to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – some 31 billion dollars. Warren remarked of his gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: ‘I’m not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth, particularly when six billion others have much poorer hands than we do in life’.

Warren Buffett Foundation

Warren Buffett chose the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation because of his belief that the couple can do the job of giving money away much better than him. In his own words, “I’ve got some people who can give it away better than I can”.

This large gift of philanthropy was unprecedented in history and inspired others to follow Warren’s example. Jackie Chan, for example thereafter planned to donate half of his personal wealth to charitable causes. In 2010, 40 people including Ron Perelman, David Rubenstein, John Doerr, Jeff Skoll, George Lucas, Larry Ellison and Boone Pickens signed the Giving Pledge to give away more than half their fortune to philanthropic causes.

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