Warren Buffett's annual gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation of Berkshire Hathaway stock is worth just over $1.8 billion this year, about two percent more than last year's donation.
Back in 2006, Buffett revealed that he would give most of his fortune to a number of charitable foundations, and that the Gates Foundation would get the bulk of it.
Based on Buffett's plan, as outlined in a letter to the foundation, the charity gets a smaller number of shares each year in July. But in the letter Buffett said he expected "the value of my annual gifts [will] trend higher in an irregular but eventually substantial manner" due to increases in Berkshire's stock price.
This year's gift demonstrates what he meant by "irregular." A filing with the SEC today (Thursday) shows that the Gates Foundation got its scheduled 451,250 Class B shares two days ago on July 1.
At that day's closing price of $3999, the stock was worth $1,804,548,750.
As you can see in this table, the value of each year's gift has increased, but the 2.3 percent edge between this year and last is much smaller than the 16 percent jump between 2006 and 2007.
The explanation, of course, is simple. Berkshire shares have cooled lately and are down over 20 percent from their all-time high of $4965 set last December.
Today, the Class B shares closed at $3895 each, their lowest finish since late September. (Current Class B price: ).
While the Gates Foundation announced plans last March to sell over 500,000 shares, it still has most of the stock it's received from Buffett so far, holding roughly 1.4 million shares currently worth $5.4 billion. That's still more than they were worth at the time of the original gifts.
While both Buffett and his friend Bill Gates would certainly like to see Berkshire's stock price go higher, I'm sure neither of them are losing any sleep about it in the short run.
They have a much grander, long-term plan that's just getting underway. And $5 billion is a great start.
Current Berkshire Class A price:
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