Bill Gates is donating another $4.6 billion of his Microsoft holdings to charity

Still the richest.
Still the richest.
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

If it’s true, as two Harvard professors have argued, that giving away your money will make you happier, Bill Gates ought to be ecstatic. The Microsoft co-founder and world’s richest man has just given away another $4.6 billion in Microsoft shares.

According to a regulatory filing, Gates made a donation of 64 million Microsoft shares on June 6, making this his largest giveaway since 2000, when he stepped down as CEO of Microsoft and established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates has not revealed the recipient of the donation, but as Bloomberg notes, he and his wife, Melinda Gates, have been funding their eponymous philanthropic organization with substantial gifts every year. The powerhouse foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the world’s poorest, and has substantial backers beyond the Gates family—in 2006, Warren Buffett also pledged the majority of his wealth to the charity.

In recent years, the foundation has been especially focused on developing and distributing vaccinations to improve public health, expanding access to contraception in developing countries, bettering education and literacy, and establishing new technology to enable mobile banking.

With this donation, which equals 38% of the tech mogul’s holdings in Microsoft, Gates has reduced his stake in the firm to 1.3%, Bloomberg reports. Gates has been selling off his shares at a rate of about 80 million per year; as The Verge observes, if he continues at this pace, he’ll have reduced to his holdings to nil by 2019.

Gates remains the richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $86.1 billion, according to Bloomberg. This donation narrows the gap (again) between Gates and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder: Bezos’ shares in Amazon are valued at $84 billion.