As most of you probably heard, a little over a month ago, the world's second richest man announced he's giving most of his fortune to the world's richest man. Wait a second, what?
Well, Warren Buffett is giving away 85% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on world health -- fighting such diseases as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis -- and on improving U.S. libraries and high schools.
His gift is an estimated $37 billion dollars today. The Foundation was previously worth about $30 billion. With the combined assets now available, can you imagine the impact it's going to have? It's worth imagining.
If the Foundation spends $3 billion per year as planned, it works out to roughly $1 per person if you consider only the poor half of the world's population. Is that enough for the it to make a huge difference? It very well might be.
I'm left wondering, though, what sort of statement does it make that one of the world's most successful capitalists chooses to give it all away?
*Edit (8-13-06): The NYT has an interesting article looking at how the Gates Foundation will give away all the money donated by Buffett. It certainly will be fascinating to see what new endeavors they are able to embark on.