Warren Buffett donates record $2 billion to Gates Foundation

Warren Buffett, the world's third wealthiest person gave away a record $2 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, according to a statement today from his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway.

Warren BuffettBuffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire, donated about 17.5 million of the company's Class B shares in his annual gift to the Gates Foundation, created by Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates.

Aa trustee of the foundation, Buffett, whose net worth is around $61 billion, beat his 2008 record of gifting stock worth $1.8 billion to the foundation.

Charity got its biggest boost in 2006, when Buffett pledged to donate $37 billion - about 85 per cent of his then $44 billion fortune - to the Gates Foundation.

The pooling of resources of the richest two created the world's largest charity organisation.

Buffet now joins the rank of the great entrepreneur-philanthropists like Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Kellog and Bill Gates. He proposes to channel the donations mostly in Berkshire stocks - into the Gates Foundation.

Founded in 2004, Seattle-based Gates Foundation funds programmes for improving health, education, and eradicating poverty, especially in poor countries.

The foundation has an impressive $36.4 billion endowment as of end 2012, and gave $3.4 billion in grants last year.

For Gates, his long-term vision is to improve the lives of millions of people across the globe. And he believes not just in giving aid but in making it work as well. By linking their fortunes and legacies through the Gates foundation, Gates and Buffet have given a fresh impetus to the business of charity.

Apart from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett also donated 1.75 million Class B shares to his late wife Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, charities of his children, 1.22 million shares to the Howard G Buffett Foundation, which focuses on poverty, 1.22 million shares to his daughter Susan's Sherwood Foundation and 1.22 million shares to his son Peter's NoVo Foundation.

The total donation is 22.87 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway worth around $2.6 billion.