Billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has given billions of dollars worth of stock to charity in annual gifts each year since 2006. On Monday, Buffett donated approximately $3.4 billion worth of shares to five prominent charities, including the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
This year, an unlikely organization also landed a donation from the Oracle of Omaha: a student-run newspaper at the University of Nebraska.
The Daily Nebraskan Editorial Support Fund received 524 shares of class B common stock in Berkshire Hathaway on July 16, according to the company's SEC filings. Based on Monday's closing price of $192 per share, that donation totals $100,608.
Buffett made the donation as part of a fundraising campaign started by the newspaper in January, Daily Nebraskan General Manager Dan Shattil tells CNBC Make It.
Funding to pay the paper's staff of 150 student reporters and editors has typically come from a mix of fees the university collects from students, and self-generated funds through advertising. But, lately, it's grown more difficult to bring in revenue, a debacle many digital media enterprises are facing.
So the student outlet decided to seek donations and set up a fund, to be invested through the University of Nebraska Foundation, in order to finance the senior editorial staff's wages in perpetuity.
"We created this fund to basically guarantee The Daily Nebraskan will always exist, will always have at least a senior staff in place," Shattil says.
As the paper considered potential donors, Buffett, a graduate of the university, came to mind.
Buffett has had an affinity for newspapers since he was a teenager delivering copies of The Washington Post to neighborhoods around D.C. (he later owned a large stake in the company.) A newspaper also brought Buffett's parents together: They met while his father, Howard Buffett, was working as an editor at The Daily Nebraskan.
"It's almost unnatural how much I love newspapers," Buffett told USA Today in 2013.
He also invests in the business of small town media. BH Media Group, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, operates 31 daily local newspapers.
"If you want to know what’s going on in your town — whether the news is about the mayor or taxes or high school football — there is no substitute for a local newspaper that is doing its job," Buffett wrote in his 2012 letter to shareholders. "Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the special informational needs of that community will remain indispensable to a significant portion of its residents."
So far, The Daily Nebraskan has raised over $200,000 for its fund, Shattil says. For him, it's about keeping the spirit of the paper alive.
"I've seen a lot of changes at the paper," Shattil, who has worked there since 1982, says. "When I first came we had typewriters. The paper is 117 years old, and it’s nice to know that if we make our goal, the paper will be in existence for another 117 years.”
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