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Warren Buffett's $1.6 Billion Stock Donation to Gates Foundation Lifts 5-Year Total to $8 Billion

Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett pose for a picture after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York.  Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig
Bill Gates, left, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett pose for a picture after a press conference Monday, June 26, 2006 in New York. Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently announced his intention of giving 10 million shares of his company to charitable organizations, the majority going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Warren Buffett's annual gift of Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is worth about $1.6 billion dollars this time around.

That's an increase of 28 percent from the value of last year's gift, even though Buffett is donating roughly one million fewer shares. Berkshire B shares are up almost 35 percent over the 12-months since Buffett's previous donation.

In a 2006 letter to Microsoft's Chairman and his wife, Buffett outlined a long-term schedule that has him donating five percent fewer shares each July, when compared to the previous year.

But Buffett told them "you can reasonably expect the value of Berkshire shares to increase, in an irregular manner, by an amount that more than compensates for the decline in the number of shares that will be distributed."

So far, that's turned out to be true for every year except 2009.

Buffett's Annual BRK.B Stock Gifts to Gates Foundation

Number of Shares
Share Price At Time of Gift
Market Value
Pct. Change
2006 25,000,000 $60.86 $1,521,500,000
2007 23,750,000 $74.28 $1,764,150,000 +15.9%
2008 22,562,500 $79.98 $1,804,548,750 +2.3%
2009 21,434,375 $58.48 $1,253,482,250 -30.5%
2010 20,362,656 $78.81 $1,604,780,939 +28.0%
TOTALS 113,109,531 $70.27 $7,948,461,939
Adjusted to reflect 50-for-1 stock split in January, 2010

With this year's installment, Buffett has given the Gates Foundation 22.6 percent of the 500 million shares he earmarked four years ago, representating almost all of his vast personal fortune. Total market value at the time of the donations: almost $8 billion.

Buffett and Gates want their fellow billionaires to follow their lead, recently telling Fortune magazine they're actively urging everyone on the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans to pledge at least 50 percent of the net worth to charities.

UPDATE (July 2): An SEC filingFriday by Berkshire confirms this year's donation of $1.6 billion in stock to the Gates Foundation and lists another $300 million in stock donations to Buffett family foundations.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

Class B:

Class A:

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Email comments to buffettwatch@cnbc.com

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