According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released Monday, Gates transferred sixty-four million shares of the company he co-founded, or the equivalent of 5 percent of his fortune, on June 6. While no recipient was specified, in the past Gates has directed the majority of his Microsoft shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which he co-chairs with his wife, Melinda. The Chronicle of Philanthropy estimates that the latest gift would increase the value of the couple's donations to the foundation to more than $18 billion.
The gift from Gates is the largest made to date in 2017, followed by gifts of stock worth nearly $3.2 billion by Warren Buffett to five foundations, including the Gates Foundation, and the $1 billion given by Michael and Susan Dell to their foundation. Together with Buffett, the Gateses launched the Giving Pledge campaign in 2010, which in the years since has been joined by a hundred and sixty-eight wealthy individuals who have pledged to commit the majority of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.
According to Bloomberg, the latest gift from Gates is the largest he has made since he gave shares worth $16 billion and $5.1 billion to his foundation in 1999 and 2000 and represents 38 percent of his holdings in the company. People who follow the billionaire's giving closely estimate that he has transferred some seven hundred million shares of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation over the years, reducing his stake in the company from 24 percent in 1996 to 1.3 percent today.