Warren Buffett said he is stepping down from his role with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, noting in a statement that he has been an “inactive” trustee of the organization. His decision to step down comes at an uncertain time for the foundation as the Gates last month announced after 27 years of marriage.
“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),” Buffett wrote in the statement. “I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” or Berkshire Hathaway, the company which Buffett helms.
The 90-year-old billionaire on Wednesday also said he has given away $4.1 billion’s worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares as part of his goal to donate 99% of his fortune. With the most recent donation, Buffett said he is “halfway there,” and he shared his thoughts on wealth and philanthropy in the statement.
“Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do,” Buffett wrote. “Compound interest, a long runway, wonderful associates and our incredible country have simply worked their magic. Society has a use for my money; I don’t.”
He added that philanthropic donations are now a “hot topic” due to the tax benefits that the wealthy accrue from such gifts. Buffett said that he believes Congress should revisit tax policies for donations, an issue that is part of a wider discussion of tax breaks for the wealthy. Earlier this month, a ProPublica report found that the richest 25 people in the U.S. have a, including Warren Buffett.
“Tax deductions are important to many — particularly to the super-rich — who give large amounts of cash or securities to philanthropy,” Buffett wrote. “It is fitting that Congress periodically revisits the tax policy for charitable contributions, particularly in respect to donors who get ‘imaginative.'”
Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, is the fourth richest person in the world and has a net worth of $145 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Last March, he stepped down from his role on Microsoft’s board of directors to focus solely on his work with the foundation.
Buffett is the world’s eighth-richest person, with a net worth of $105 billion, according to Bloomberg.