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Warren Buffett's generosity grows with Berkshire's stock price

Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett at a 2006 news conference announcing Buffett's plans to give billions to the Gates Foundation
Seth Wenig
Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett at a 2006 news conference announcing Buffett's plans to give billions to the Gates Foundation

With a lot of help from a 39 percent increase in the value of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B stock over the past 12 months, Warren Buffett's donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this year was the largest since his annual contributions began in 2006.

Buffett's gift of 17,458,431 shares is worth just over $2 billion at today's closing price of $115.01, a bit below the all-time high of $115.98 reached in mid-June.

Last July's contribution of 19.3 million shares was worth $1.5 billion at that day's closing price of $82.54.

In a 2006 letter to Microsoft's chairman and his wife, Buffett outlined a long-term schedule that has him donating 5 percent fewer shares each July year-over-year.

Over the eight years, Buffett has given the Gates Foundation more than 168 million shares, about a third of the 500 million shares he has pledged.

The total value of those gifts on the days they were made is almost $13 billion. At today's closing price, the shares would be worth $19.4 billion.

Buffett also followed through on the "reverse birthday gift" he promised last August when he turned 82: a doubling of his annual gifts to the foundations run by his three children.

Susan Buffett's Sherwood Foundation, Peter's Buffett's NoVo Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation each received 1.22 million shares, worth about $140 million.

The billionaire also gave 1.75 million shares, worth about $201 million, to the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, in honor of his late first wife.

In total, the 22,870,529 shares contributed Monday are worth $2.6 billion.