Warren Buffett and Bill Gates met on 4th of July weekend 30 years ago. Here’s how their iconic friendship began.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

  • Warren Buffett and Bill Gates first met 30 years ago on Fourth of July weekend.
  • The investor and the Microsoft cofounder expected to have little in common.
  • Buffett and Gates became close friends and philanthropic partners.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are very close friends who have partnered in philanthropy, political activism, and online bridge. Their iconic friendship began almost 30 years to the day on Fourth of July weekend, 1991.

Buffett was visiting Meg Greenfield, a Washington Post editor based in Washington state at the time, he recalled at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in 2000. Greenfield was friends with Gates’ parents, so she took Buffett down to visit them. Gates initially had no interest in meeting Buffett as he had little respect for the investor’s livelihood.

“I didn’t even want to meet Warren because I thought, ‘Hey, this guy buys and sells things, and so he found imperfections in terms of markets – that’s not value added to society, that’s a zero-sum game that is almost parasitic.’ That was my view before I met him … he wasn’t going to tell me about inventing something,” Gates said at a conference in 2019.

However, Gates changed his mind after Buffett began peppering him with “amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked,” he recalled in a 2016 blog post.

Buffett wasn’t thrilled to meet Gates either, but he quickly warmed to the Microsoft cofounder.

“We hit it off immediately,” the investor said in 2000. “We had a great time. He had this chimpanzee to whom he was going to try and explain this technical stuff. But I was kind of an interesting chimpanzee to him, and he’s a terrific teacher.”

The fateful meeting ultimately led to Buffett pledging in 2006 to give virtually all of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four other foundations. He reached the halfway mark towards that goal last month, and decided it was the right time to resign as a trustee of the Gates Foundation.

Buffett and Gates have engaged in plenty of antics over the past three decades, from competing in newspaper-tossing and table-tennis competitions, to buying lunch at McDonald’s with coupons and picking up a shift at Berkshire-owned Dairy Queen. Gates also baked a cake to celebrate Buffett’s 90th birthday last fall.

Given their special bond, both billionaires must be very happy that they didn’t skip that Fourth of July gathering 30 years ago.

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MacKenzie Scott has given away over $8 billion since divorcing Jeff Bezos, but her wealth keeps rising thanks to Amazon’s soaring stock price

Mackenzie Bezos
MacKenzie Scott.

  • MacKenzie Scott has given away over $8 billion since divorcing Jeff Bezos.
  • She recently gave $2.74 billion to charity, but she’s still worth around $60 billion.
  • Scott owns a 4% stake in Amazon, whose share price has continued to skyrocket during the pandemic.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

MacKenzie Scott has given away over $8 billion in the last year, but it hasn’t made much of a dent in her net worth – in fact, her fortune keeps rising.

Scott, a philanthropist and the ex-wife of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, announced on Tuesday that she had given away $2.74 billion to 286 organizations. The donations were given in “categories and communities that have historically been underfunded and overlooked,” Scott said in a blog post.

The latest round of donations brings Scott’s total to about $8.5 billion. In July 2020, she revealed that she had donated $1.7 billion to 116 organizations since her divorce from Bezos in 2019; last December, she announced another $4 billion in donations to help those who were affected economically during the pandemic, including food banks and relief funds.

Despite the billions Scott has given away throughout the last two years, she remains one of the richest people in the world with a net worth of around $60 billion – since June 2020, Scott’s fortune has increased by $1.31 billion overall, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Scott and Bezos finalized their divorce in July 2019. The high-profile split left Scott with a 4% stake in Amazon and instantly made her one of the richest women alive.

Read more: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett got 211 billionaires to pledge half their wealth to charity. But some are moving slow – and still getting massive tax breaks.

Prior to the divorce, Scott announced that she had signed the Giving Pledge, a committement created by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates that asks the world’s wealthiest people to pledge to give the majority of their fortune to charity. Scott revealed earlier this year that she had married Dan Jewett, a former Seattle chemistry teacher, and added him to the pledge.

Bezos has not signed onto the Giving Pledge, but his $10 billion donation to help fight climate change was the single-largest charitable gift in 2020.

Amazon shares climbed throughout 2020 as demand surged amid the pandemic. The company added hundreds of thousands of additional jobs at its fulfillment centers over the last year and opened new warehouses throughout North America.

The company currently has a market value of over $1.7 trillion, and sales have continued to soar in 2021: Amazon reported $108.52 billion in revenue in the first quarter, a 44% increase year-over-year.

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Investor Ron Conway and Zillow CEO Rich Barton are among 13 new billionaires who have agreed to give away most of their fortunes by signing the Giving Pledge

ron conway
Ron Conway in 2017.

  • Famed Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway, Zillow cofounder Rich Barton, and early Facebook employee Jeff Rothschild are among this year’s new signatories of the Giving Pledge, thereby agreeing to give the majority of their net worths to charity.
  • This year’s 13 additions to the Giving Pledge have a combined net worth of around $40 billion.
  • The Giving Pledge was founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and investor Warren Buffet and has since garnered the signatures of over 200 billionaires, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
  • Still missing from the pledge’s signatories is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is the richest person in the world with a net worth of more than $200 billion.
  • Bezos has been criticized for not donating enough to charity and is the only American among the five richest people in the world who hasn’t signed the Giving Pledge.
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A new round of billionaires has signed onto Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, whose signatories agree to give the majority of their fortunes away.

The new billionaires include Zillow cofounder and CEO Rich Barton as well as famed Silicon Valley “super angel” investor Ron Conway, according to the Giving Pledge’s website. Early Facebook employee Jeff Rothschild, who has a net worth of $3.8 billion according to Forbes, and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwartzman also signed this year. As Forbes estimates, the combined net worth of the new signatories sits at more than $40 billion.

The Giving Pledge was founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and investor Warren Buffet as a “movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills.” Signatories must be bona fide billionaires. 

It has since garnered the signatures of over 200 billionaires across the world, like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

But a 2020 report from the think tank Institute for Policy Studies found that the majority of the original signatories are now much richer than they were when they signed back in 2010, suggesting that they are making money faster than they are giving it away. 

As Forbes notes, the pledge isn’t binding, meaning Giving Pledge can’t force those who sign to give their fortunes to charitable organizations. The Giving Pledge also doesn’t oversee donations made by signatories.

Read more: Jeff Bezos is the first person ever to be worth $200 billion. This is how the Amazon CEO’s immense wealth stacks up to the average US worker, the British monarchy, and entire countries’ GDP.

Some billionaires have been criticized for not donating enough to charity organizations – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has accumulated a net worth of more than $200 billion since first becoming a billionaire in 1997. He is the richest person in the world and the only American in the world’s five richest that has not signed the Giving Pledge.

Bezos’ ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott, signed the Giving Pledge in mid-2019 after her $38 billion divorce settlement. She has donated more than $4 billion over the last few months to more than 300 organizations to help people hit hard by pandemic-driven economic trouble.

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