Warren Bufftett

The billionaire next door, Warren Buffett, turns 82 years of age today, and befittingly, he celebrates the occasion with a big donation to charity.

Buffett doubled up the pledge of Berkshire B shares to each of the charitable foundations run by his three children, Susie, Howie, and Peter, to 24,441,074 shares, of which 1,222,085 shares shall be distributed next July. That amount will decrease at 5 percent per year thereafter. Buffett estimates that the value of the annual distribution could approximate $100 million, though that value could show a lot of variation from year to year. The current value of the pledged shares is upwards of $2 billion.

According to Dealbook, Buffett writes in a letter to his children: “I knew you would apply your considerable brains and energies in order to make the most of the funds from my gift. However, you have exceeded my high expectations. Your mother would be as proud of you as I am.”

The full text of the letter may be read here.

Warren Buffett is a noted philanthropist and has been known to exhort fellow wealthy Americans to donate to charity.

His current fortune is estimated at $44 billion, and apart from the pledge in favor of his children’s charities, large chunks of his wealth would go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and another to the Susan Thompson Buffett foundation. These later pledges remain unchanged, but those in favor of his children have been improved because of the progress made. In total, these pledges now account for 90 percent of Buffett’s stock, and he is reported to be determined to get that figure up to 100 percent as the years pass.

Of the children, Howard has focused on helping farmers in developing and poor countries to increase their output. Susie has concentrated on education and the reduction of teenage pregnancy, while Peter Buffett seeks empowerment of girls and women globally.

Buffett’s will specifies that stock remaining after the pledges will pass on to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Importantly, all the donated proceeds have to be spent within 10 years of his death.