Warren Buffett's Set to Donate More Than $4 Billion to Charity. Here's Where the Lion's Share is Going

Warren Buffett is known for his investment success. But the billionaire investor also is known for something else. And that’s sharing the wealth. Through a philanthropy program launched in 2006, Buffett has pledged to give away, over time, more than 99% of his fortune.

This time of year may not be the holiday season. But for Buffett and his favorite foundations, it almost is. That’s because, around now, in June and July, Buffett generally offers these big gifts. So, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is gearing up once again to offer billions of dollars in the company’s shares to five different foundations. Which one will get the lion’s share? Let’s find out.

Gifts to five foundations

Buffett’s donations this time around should reach $4.5 billion, according to calculations by Barron’s. And the newspaper said $3.4 billion, in the form of 10.5 million Berkshire Hathaway class B shares, is set to go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The other four foundations on the receiving list are run by Buffett’s children. They’re likely to split the remaining $1.1 billion, Barron’s estimates.

Buffett isn’t a stranger to the Gates Foundation. He was a trustee from 2006 through 2021. And through his philanthropic effort, he’s given the foundation $36 billion so far. The only conditions? The foundation must spend the donations on current needs instead of setting them aside for later. And Bill or Melinda Gates must remain active in determining the foundation’s policy, Barron’s reported.

Buffett has downplayed his gifts over the years. In his official pledge, Buffett wrote: “Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day.” He used examples of people who sacrifice movies or dinners out so they can give to their local schools or churches.

Barron’s noted that even though the total amount of stock Buffett gives the foundations declines each year, the value actually is going up — that’s thanks to Berkshire Hathaway’s gains. The shares have climbed more than 190% over the past decade.

The secret of Buffett’s success

And that brings me to the subject of Buffett’s investing performance. What is the secret of Buffett’s success? And can you use some of his techniques to grow your own wealth?

Buffett focuses on holding stocks over the long term. He also is known for value investing, or picking up stocks trading lower than the true value of the particular company. The idea is the market eventually will recognize the strength of the business — and the stock will gain in value over time.

The billionaire investor also is a big fan of dividend stocks. One of his favorites is Coca-Cola, a stock he began investing in during the late 1980s. And guess what? Buffett still is holding onto those shares. Since, they’ve gained in value — and they’ve earned him passive income every year. In fact, last year Coca-Cola paid $704 million in dividend payments to Berkshire Hathaway.

But don’t be intimidated by that number. You don’t have to have millions or billions of dollars to start investing. Even a few dollars can mark your first steps along the path to financial freedom. By following Buffett’s example, even with a smaller investment, you still can buy quality companies, collect valuable dividends, and grow your wealth over time.

Adria Cimino has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2024 $47.50 calls on Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.