Warren Buffett Hits Halfway Mark of Donating 99% of Net Worth With Latest $4.1B Donation

Warren Buffett has hit the halfway mark of donating 99 percent of his net worth with his latest $4.1 billion donation to five foundations.

"Today is a milestone for me," Buffett said in a Wednesday statement. "In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of my net worth — to philanthropy. With today's $4.1 billion distribution, I'm halfway there."

Fifteen years ago, the 90-year-old pledged to give away all of his shares through annual gifts to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

At the time, he owned 474,998 Berkshire A shares. After today's latest donation, he said he owns 238,624 shares, worth about $100 billion. Buffett is Berkshire's largest stakeholder, owning nearly 40 percent of the Class A shares.

"I'm optimistic. Though naysayers abound — as they have throughout my life — America's best days most certainly lie ahead," Buffett said. "Philanthropy will continue to pair human talent with financial resources. So, too, will business and government. Each force has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Combined, they will make the world a better place — a much better place — for future generations."

Warren Buffett Billionaire Wealth Donations
Philanthropist Warren Buffett is joined onstage by 24 other philanthropist and influential business people featured on the Forbes list of 100 Greatest Business Minds during the Forbes Media Centennial Celebration at Pier 60 on September 19, 2017 in New York City. Buffett marked the halfway point of donating 99 percent of his net worth on Wednesday. Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

On Wednesday, Buffett also announced that he will resign as the trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"For years I have been a trustee — an inactive trustee at that — of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire's," Buffett said.

He continued, "The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals."

His resignation comes less than two months after Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda, announced their divorce.

In May, the couple said although they were splitting up after 27 years, they would continue to work together on their philanthropic efforts.

"Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," Bill Gates wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. "We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."

As of 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is reported to be the second-largest charitable foundation in the world, holding $49.8 billion in assets. The private foundation founded by the Gates family is aimed at helping to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty across the world.

In 2010, the couple and Buffett created the Giving Pledge, a program that requires participants to give away more than half of their wealth. As of December 2020, the pledge has 216 signatories from 24 countries.

Although the three have vowed to give most of their wealth away to charity, data shows their wealth has nearly doubled over the last decade. Billionaire wealth has also grown exponentially in the last year despite the coronavirus pandemic.

A report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies released earlier this year shows that U.S. billionaires increased their collective wealth by some $1.62 trillion between March 18, 2020, and April 12, 2021.