Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has donated 15.9 million class B shares valued at $2.9 billion to five charities: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, The Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation, according to an announcement from the company Wednesday.
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Buffett's contribution is the 15th installment of an annual giving plan started by the billionaire in June 2006 and increased in August 2012, in which Buffett's class A shares are converted into class B shares that are used to make gifts. Including the recent contribution, Buffett has donated more than $37 billion in Berkshire shares since 2006, reducing his holdings of A shares from 474,998 to 248,734.
"Looking ahead, Mr. Buffett envisions that all of the Berkshire shares he owns at his death will be distributed to various philanthropic organizations over the following 12 years," the company said in a statement. "The recipients of the gifts will be obliged to both spend their gifts in a prompt manner and to prevent their use, either directly or indirectly, for any kind of endowment purpose."
The company noted that Buffett has not sold any of his Berkshire Hathaway shares and does not expect to sell any between now and his death.
According to the company, Buffett has received "only minor benefits from tax deductions arising from his gifts to the five foundations."
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Including projections for 2020, Buffett's combined federal and Nebraska income tax paid has been reduced by about 43 cents for every $1,000 he has given to the foundations over the last 15 years.