Omaha, NE

The Omaha man giving away billions

Ash Jurberg

This month, I have been reviewing the annual list of billionaires released by Forbes.

I like to scour the list and look for interesting stories to share with readers. Previously I have written about the "oracle of Omaha" - Warren Buffett.

One of the most famous Omaha residents in history, Buffett is worth $121 billion, which makes him the 5th richest person on this planet. He runs Berkshire Hathaway, which owns over 60 companies, including insurer Geico, battery maker Duracell, and the Dairy Queen restaurant chain.

He started his journey as an entrepreneur at a young age, purchasing his first stock when he was only eleven years old. By the time he was thirteen, he was already filing taxes. While still a teen, he invested in pinball machines they stationed in barbershops, splitting the profits with the shop owners. Before he was 16, he had bought 40 acres of Nebraska farmland with the proceeds from earlier business ventures.

It certainly is an amazing business story. But what is even more impressive is what he does with his fortune. Buffett doesn't spend his wealth on fancy cars and expensive mansions. Instead, he gives back to the community.

Let's take a look at his generosity.

The Omaha man giving away billions

Despite his wealth, unlike many billionaires, he isn't flamboyant and doesn't spend his money on expensive cars and houses.

In 2010, in conjunction with fellow billionaire Bill Gates, Buffett launched the Giving Pledge, asking billionaires to pledge at least half of their wealth to charitable causes. But, of course, Buffett aims to beat his stated aim of giving away half, pledging, in fact, to give away more than 99% of his fortune.

"More than 99% of my wealth will go to philanthropy during my lifetime or at death. Measured by dollars, this commitment is large. In a comparative sense, though, many individuals give more to others every day." Warren Buffett

So far, he has donated $46 billion, much of which has been put to work on poverty and healthcare initiatives in developing countries and education in the U.S.

Forbes has called him the greatest philanthropist of our time, and he is certainly setting an example for others on the world's billionaire list. So far, Buffett has given away 50% of his wealth, and he is certainly on track to give away his fortune before he dies.

"Over many decades I have accumulated an almost incomprehensible sum simply by doing what I love to do. I've made no sacrifice nor has my family. "Compound interest, a long runway, wonderful associates and our incredible country have simply worked their magic. Society has a use for my money; I don't."

Readers, are you proud of what Buffett has done for Omaha? Where would you like to see Buffett donate his money?

Please leave your comments below.

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