On June 25, 2006, Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors in the world and the world’s richest person at the time, made a huge announcement. Buffett pledged to give the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 10 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway through annual contributions. The first year’s donation was equivalent to about $1.5 billion.
Red212 celebrated. This extremely successful businessman was making a commitment to create a better world, using business as a force for change.
One year later, no one was talking about it. We thought, “This is crazy.” So, we created Bill and Warren Day, a national holiday that honors the spirit of giving back.
In 2008, we hosted our first Bill and Warren Day celebration. Since then, we’ve welcomed a number of esteemed guests from other mission-driven companies to help us celebrate the holiday including Jonathan Greenblatt, founder of Ethos Water, and Neil Blumenthal, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Warby Parker, who even set up a pop-up shop in our conference room.
In 2010, Gates and Buffett created The Giving Pledge, an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit to giving more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetime or in their will. The idea behind it was to encourage people to talk about giving more openly and create an atmosphere that will encourage philanthropy.
There are now 158 pledgers, including notable names like Richard Branson, Diane von Furstenberg, George Lucas, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Bill and Melinda Gates recently published their 2017 Annual Letter, titled “Dear Warren,” thanking Buffet for his contribution in 2006 and reflecting on the impact it has made on issues ranging from malnutrition to women’s rights to polio.
“This expanding capacity gives us a chance to solve mysteries and save lives – and that lets us end our letter with a bright look ahead,” the couple wrote.
We look forward to celebrating Bill and Warren Day again this June and further encouraging and atmosphere of giving and social consciousness. Stay tuned to find out more about our celebration, and we invite companies and individuals to pledge to celebrate at their place of business as well.