News and analysis
August 14, 2017

Bill Gates Adds $4.6 Billion to Foundation Endowment

Michael Hanson/Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Melinda and Bill Gates visit a classroom at South High School in Denver. Mr. Gates recently gave $4.6 billion in Microsoft stock to the couple's foundation, according to new federal filings.

The wealthiest foundation in America has gotten $4.6 billion bigger as Bill Gates announced the transfer of that much in Microsoft stock to augment the philanthropy he runs with his wife, Melinda.

The transfer became publicly known on Monday via a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The last time the technology mogul gave his foundation such a hefty sum was in 2000, when he donated stock then valued at $5 billion to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Foundation officials did not respond to The Chronicle’s requests to confirm where the shares were going. Federal filings do not require people transferring large amounts of stock to disclose the disposition of the funds. Typically, however, such notices are a key indication that new money is going to the foundation.

More to Come

If this new contribution is indeed going to the foundation, Mr. Gates will have given the fund more than $18 billion, according to The Chronicle’s tally. There’s probably many billions more to come: The Gateses’ net worth is nearly $90 billion, according to Forbes, and at least half of that sum is expected to go to charity. The Gateses, along with Warren Buffett, created the Giving Pledge, which they have persuaded 170 of the world’s wealthiest people to sign, committing at least half of their wealth to charity.

Because Mr. Buffett has pledged his wealth (more than $36.1 billion in 2006) to the Gates Foundation, instructing it to give his money away fast, the organization has donated substantial sums. Not counting this latest addition, the foundation says it has $40.3 billion in its endowment.

Send an e-mail to Maria Di Mento.