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U.S. Tycoon Makes Gift of $37 Billion Fortune

Warren Buffett - the world's second-richest man - is giving most of his fortune to a charity run by the world's wealthiest man, Bill Gates. Buffett says he will donate more than $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds programs to fight poverty and disease around the world. VOA's George Dwyer reports.

Investment tycoon Warren Buffet has said for years that he will not part with his fortune until he died, and that he will not leave it all to his children. Monday in New York he announced a change of plans, saying he will begin transferring more than half his fortune to fellow philanthropist Bill Gates and Gates' wife Melinda almost immediately.

Buffett said, "If you are accumulating wealth it is very natural to go to somebody you think can handle money better than you can. I've got some people where I can say you can give it away better than I can, so I am turning it over to you and you can do a better job of giving it away than I would do."

Buffet will give $7 billion of his estimated $44 billion fortune to a variety of charities, including those run by his three children. An additional $30 billion will go to help fund projects supported by Gates, who is a natural choice, says Fortune magazine editor Carol Loomis. "They have a lot of fun together. They play some bridge together. They've been on trips. He can see how effective they've been with their own money and is just really delighted at the idea of giving them more money to work with."

Bill Gates recently announced his decision to leave his full-time role at Microsoft Corporation to concentrate on philanthropic work. His efforts in that field have been increasing steadily over the past decade. Buffett says he is deeply impressed by the work the Gates foundation has done on issues of global health and national education. The Gates family say they in turn have been affected by Buffett's modest lifestyle and commitment to service.

Bill Gates said, "We have known Warren since 1991 and it was his thought that wealth should go back to society that got us thinking about doing our foundation in the first place." The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a magazine that covers charities, is reporting that Buffett's gift is the largest charitable pledge in history.