Monday, July 16, 2012

What would you do if your Dad gave you only one but a friend 31? Not fair especially when we are talking Billions of dollars and your father is the second richest man in America, Warren Buffett. The Buffett stock alone sells for more than $100,000 dollars a share on the stock exchange. The son Howard Buffett even admitted “It seemed that there was nothing that I can do to make me as successful as my Dad.” Dad said, ” Don’t even try to compete at my game. Go find your own game.”
Howard is very different from his father. He is a farmer, outdoors down in the dirt very different from his money making indoors Dad. Howard is also different in another way. He is an active hands on philanthropist who visits up to 20 countries a year. The Howard G. Foundation focuses on world hunger spending 50 Million dollars per year on projects like feeding programs in Ethiopia and agriculture education in Afghanistan. Why do we need all these foundations to feed and educate in Afghanistan? Our government spends Billions on bombing people but little or no money on helping the innocent like women and children on survival.
He understands agriculture and feels that he should be able to do something about the poor war torn countries that are literally left alone with no significant leaders. The poor people there need food, are dirty, they don’t have adequate sanitation, no good water and he saw farmers that couldn’t even feed themselves. In places like El Salvador he is funding training programs for small farmers. 5,000 farmers are learning new planting and fertilizing techniques to improve the quality of their corn and red beans.
Since his training programs, the farmers he has helped claimed to have doubled their incomes. Warren, his father is proud that he at least instills a business sense into these people. So, Howard insists that the farmers learn accounting and manage their credit . They must buy their own seeds. He is making a big difference but on a small scale. As his father’s fame and fortune grew, Howard’s career went no where especially when he dropped out of 3 colleges one after another.
Imagine the embarrassment when you are the second richest man in America and you can’t even get your son to finish any college and the kid wants to be a save the hungry farmer. In fact, none of Warren Buffett’s three kids graduated from college. Warren jokes that if he adds up all his kids credits it could add up to enough for one degree. They differ greatly in that the rich Dad was famously unwilling to give up his money to charity.
So, it came as a big surprise 5 years ago that he donated the vast bulk of his fortune, some 31 Billion Dollars to the Gates Foundation. Nope, not to his son’ s foundation. Bill Gates is Warren’s friend that is sometimes referred to as his third son. They vacation together and spend birthday’s together. So, the size of his donation to the Gates Foundation left his own son and family pushed to the side being given only One Billion each.
Don’t start crying too much for his children. They without much college are doing just fine. Howard, Susan and the other son Peter have gotten multi-million dollar gifts of money and Berkshire Hathaway stock from Warren. On top of their gifts each child is being given One Billion dollars to go to their philanthropy. Still, Why does Bill Gates get 31 Billion Dollars?
Ironically, Bill Gates is spending a huge chunk of Warren Buffett’s money on poor farmers in Africa giving them hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers. It is the exact high-teck approach Howard Buffett tried and now feels the approach will fail with farmers that barely make a dollar a day not to mention his father could have given him more money for essentially the same cause.
Howard even admits that once in a while the 3 kids call him ‘Brother Bill.” Warren Buffett is now 81 years old and has picked Howard to be Chairman of the Board for Berkshire Hathaway after his death and if the Board approves him despite no finance background, Howard would NOT be paid and NOT run the company day to day.

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