What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Handing over a fortune

Amy Scott Jun 26, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates could probably start a small country if they combined their fortunes. I don’t think that’s likely to happen, but they are joining forces to pour billions of dollars into helping mankind. The two richest men in the world hold a press conference in New York today. Buffett plans to give a huge chunk of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. More now from Marketplace’s Amy Scott.

AMY SCOTT: Philanthropy experts say Buffett’s gift is unusual in a few ways.

There’s its size. The Gates Foundation alone will get more thirty billion dollars. Individuals with that much money typically create their own foundations rather than give it to someone else’s group. And Buffett says he’ll make his annual contribution only as long as either Microsoft chair Bill Gates or his wife Melinda Gates is actively involved.

Gene Temple directs the University of Indiana’s Center on Philanthropy.

GENE TEMPLE: He’s entrusting it to the next generation. It should not go unnoticed that Warren Buffett is 75 and Bill Gates is 50. So I think he’s trying to ensure that his philanthropy has a good steward in someone whom he trusts.

With $60 billion in its coffers the Gates Foundation will dwarf the $11 billion Ford Foundation.

Temple says Buffett’s largesse may inspire similar mega-gifts in the future.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.