70 billion dollars and counting. Wouldn’t it be great if other tech and investment luminaries added to the fund.
The longer answer is that over the years I had gotten to know Bill and Melinda Gates well, spent a lot of time with them having fun and, way beyond that, had grown to admire what they were doing with their foundation. I’ve seen them give presentations about its programs, and I’m always amazed at the enthusiasm and passion and energy they’re pouring into their work. They’ve gone at it, you might say, with both head and heart.
Bill reads many thousands of pages annually keeping up with medical advances and means of delivering help. Melinda, often with Bill along, travels the world looking at how well good intentions are being converted into good results. Life has dealt a terrible hand to literally billions of people around the world, and Bill and Melinda are bent on reducing that inequity to the extent they possibly can.
If you think about it – if your goal is to return the money to society by attacking truly major problems that don’t have a commensurate funding base – what could you find that’s better than turning to a couple of people who are young, who are ungodly bright, whose ideas have been proven, who already have shown an ability to scale it up and do it right?
You don’t get an opportunity like that ordinarily. I’m getting two people enormously successful at something, where I’ve had a chance to see what they’ve done, where I know they will keep doing it – where they’ve done it with their own money, so they’re not living in some fantasy world – and where in general I agree with their reasoning. If I’ve found the right vehicle for my goal, there’s no reason to wait.
Compare what I’m doing with them to my situation at Berkshire, where I have talented and proven people in charge of our businesses. They do a much better job than I could in running their operations.
What can be more logical, in whatever you want done, than finding someone better equipped than you are to do it? Who wouldn’t select Tiger Woods to take his place in a high-stakes golf game? That’s how I feel about this decision about my money.