The world’s richest can’t give away their money fast enough — but that’s not stopping them from trying.
Warren Buffett said Monday he plans to donate $3.6 billion of Berkshire Hathaway stock to five charities — one of his largest gifts ever — while Walmart heir Jim Walton gave away $1.2 billion of the retailer’s shares last week.
And Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus said this weekend he’s planning to gift almost his entire $4.5 billion fortune before he dies.
The donations are occurring amid debate over how best the richest Americans should use their money to help address income inequality and other economic imbalances.
Last week, a group including George Soros and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes called for a wealth tax to help provide funds for fighting climate change and public health initiatives. Others such as Buffett have argued they prefer to have entities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation oversee the charitable work.
Buffett’s gift brings the total amount of stock he’s donated to foundations to about $34 billion since making a pledge in 2006 to give away all his fortune, according to a statement Monday.
The recipients include the Gates Foundation, as well as charities named for his late wife and ones run by his children.
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The recipient of Walton’s gift wasn’t disclosed in a June 27 regulatory filing, but family members have regularly donated to the Walton Family Foundation, whose causes include education and the environment.
The foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in 2018, according to its website, and had assets of $4.9 billion at the end of 2017.