Bill Gates signs off up to £3.6bn of Microsoft shares to charity


Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates, has donated $4.6bn (£3.6bn) to charity. This is the biggest gift to charity since he set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According records at the United States securities and exchange commission Gates donated 64m Microsoft shares, which is $4.6 billion (~£3.6bn) worth of Gates’ personal fortune.

Although the recipient of the gift was not specified but it is expected that the money will be directed to the foundation he and his wife set up in 2000 with $5bn funding to improve global healthcare and reduce extreme poverty in the world’s poorest regions.

In 2010, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge: A campaign to encourage wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Most of the signers of the pledge are billionaires, and their pledges total to over $365 billion. So far more than 170 of the world’s richest people, including Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg and George Lucas, signed up.

Gates’ regular philanthropic donations made him no longer the largest stakeholder in the company he co-founded in 1975. Gates stake in Microsoft reduced to just 1.3% from 24% in 1996, and 49% in 1986. Bill Gates has held the title of world’s richest man since 2013, the title was briefly passed on to Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who was the second richest man. Gates regained the title when Amazon stocks fell again.

Bezos, founded Amazon in 1994, and is currently worth $18.9bn. He has used his wealth to invest in space travel and to buy the Washington Post and has not signed up to the Giving Pledge. Bezos has said that in matters of philanthropy he is drawn to the “right now”, rather than the long-term approach. The recent donation made my Gates might take Bezos back to the top, this is the biggest donation Gates has made since 2000.

William Henry “Bill” Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, entrepreneur, philanthropist, investor, and computer programmer. In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft, which became the world’s largest PC software company. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Later in his career Gates pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. Gates is currently the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of US$77.3 billion.

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