On Wednesday, Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates announced that he plans to give “virtually all of [his] wealth” away.
In a Twitter thread, Gates announced that he would be donating $20 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s endowment fund this month and that he would increase his spending to $9 billion per year by 2026.
“As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation,” Gates wrote. “I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people.”
Gates, who has a net worth of approximately $129 billion, is the fourth richest person in the world, according to Forbes. Gates is also the largest private owner of farmland in the nation, owning over 260,000 acres of land.
“I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives,” Gates wrote in a follow-up tweet to the thread. “And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too.”
Gates has faced recent scrutiny after a significant purchase of farmland several weeks ago in North Dakota. The purchase of 2,100 acres of land for $13.5 million was halted by the North Dakota attorney general after a Gates-associated group, Red River Trust, attempted to make the purchase. The attorney general later cleared the sale after finding it complies with state laws.
“I’ve gotten a big earful on this from clear across the state, it’s not even from that neighborhood,” Doug Goehring, the state agricultural commissioner, told local media. “Those people are upset, but there are others that are just livid about this.”
Gates was recently asked in a Reddit Q&A why he was so involved in purchasing farmland. He replied, saying, “my investment group chose to do this. It is not connected to climate.”
“The agriculture sector is important. With more productive seeds we can avoid deforestation and help Africa deal with the climate difficulty they already face. It is unclear how cheap biofuels can be but if they are cheap it can solve the aviation and truck emissions,” Gates said.
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