Billionaire investor Warren Buffett knows what he's good at: running Berkshire Hathaway. He also knows what he's not good at: running a foundation.
His secret for success in philanthropy is giving the power to those who do know what they're doing. In a video published on CNBC that introduces an online course in philanthropy, Buffett says he always knew he wanted to give most of his wealth to charity, but that he wanted others to do it. "I make it and somebody else gives it away," he says on the video.
The online course, called "Giving With Purpose," is part of an effort supported by Sunshine Lady Foundation, which is run by Buffett's sister Doris. Buffett describes himself as the wholesaler and his sister as the retailer when it comes to charitable giving.
Aside from his sister, Buffett entrusts his billions to foundations headed by his three children and by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. He has no interest, he says, in beginning his own foundation. "I wouldn't be effective, as I wouldn't like doing it so much," he says.
Buffett has made it his mission to not only donate nearly his entire fortune, but to encourage others to do so. He began The Giving Pledge in 2010 in order to recruit wealthy individuals who promise to give at least half their fortunes to charity. The campaign has attracted some of the biggest names among the rich and famous, including CNN founder Ted Turner and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.
As a group, the wealthy (those with investable assets of $1 million or more) gave an average of 9 percent of their household income to charity annually from 2009 to 2011, according to a 2012 study by Bank of America and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said they planned on donating at least that much, or more, per year through 2016.
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