September 20, 2013 – Business magnate and investor Warren Buffett sat down with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan at Georgetown yesterday to talk about the importance of philanthropy and share his thoughts on the current economic climate.
“Originally my wife and I had planned when we were in our twenties that when we had everything we needed, we would give the rest to society,” Buffett, chair and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, told an audience of more than 700 Georgetown students, faculty, staff and business leaders.
Buffett is ranked No. 4 on Forbes magazine’s list of top billionaires in the world and No. 2 in the United States. In 2006, he made a commitment to gradually give away all of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations.
Sharing the Bounty
He and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates then began to ask, through The Giving Pledge, that the world’s wealthiest people dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.
“I am giving up nothing that has utility to me,” said the longtime philanthropist. “I have everything in the world that I want that can be bought [with] money.”
He said he also has great admiration for people who feel compelled to give to others even when they are not wealthy themselves.
While the economy has allowed the nation’s wealthy and businesses to do well, he said there’s a need to make sure everyone has a “share in the bounty.”
Business and Philanthropy
“The obligation of a society as prosperous as ours is to figure out how nobody gets left too far behind,” he said.
The event, presented in partnership between the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and Bank of America.
GSEI promotes solutions to and meaningful investments in the world’s challenges in health and wellbeing, economic growth, the environment and international development.
Moynihan echoed Buffett’s need for melding a good business acumen with philanthropy.
“This is a person with a passion, [still] … at 83, to make that right investment decision,” Moynihan said. “But importantly … [with] the ability to do something with all that wealth… I think you will find very few people in the world who have been able to do both things so well as Warren Buffett has.”