Warren Buffett, the aging and revered Nebraska investor, long ago shook the philanthropy world with his promise in 2006 (when he was worth only $44 billion) to distribute the overwhelming majority of his massive Berkshire Hathaway wealth to nonprofits during his lifetime. He’s had the time to make partial good on his word. On the cusp of his 92nd birthday (August 30th), the amount of Berkshire Hathaway stock the “Oracle of Omaha” has donated (to several family charities, and primarily to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) has reached at least a cumulative $40 billion.
Much of this largesse, especially those donated funds that have found their way into the coffers of the Buffett family’s private foundation, have been redistributed to organizations advocating, fighting, and training for—as well as providing and even bankrolling—abortion.
There’s been decades of generosity here. But in terms of raw dollars donated to the NARALs of the world, this may have been just an opening act.
Well before he made widely reported philanthropic proclamations—such as his charity partnership with Bill Gates, and the development of The Giving Pledge—Buffett’s original foundation made regular and large grants (they have totaled well over a billion dollars) to standbys like Planned Parenthood, the Guttmacher Institute, National Abortion Federation, to entities engaged in abortion-related research (Buffett was a major supporter of the “RU-486” abortion pill), and to a phalanx of other groups, small and large, swimming in the same bloody waters of “reproductive choice.”
These charity recipients include many not-so-obvious institutions that have proven central to abortion practices. And they weren’t getting chump change. An example of such, from a Mother Jones 2016 article cataloguing Buffett’s broad abortion philanthropy, finds that college-giving—a thing unsuspicious at first glance—could indeed be hard-core abortion-giving:
Buffett’s main academic partner (receiving at least $88 million from 2001 to 2014) has been the University of California-San Francisco, a medical research institution with a strong reproductive health infrastructure. (Abortion opponents’ perspective is a bit different: “America’s abortion training academy,” one National Right to Life official recently called it).
That was then. As for now, and for what’s over the horizon, a fair question is, How much more is there to give? From the perspective of pro-life organizations, the question may be more appropriately stated, How much more are our opponents to receive?
The answer to either question is “plenty,” and wondering about this and more has become a topic of increasing public interest. Buffett-watchers predict that much of his estate is likely to find its way into abortion-rights causes and advocacy, as well as the actual bloody performance of that life-ending act.
What precipitated all the Buffett predicting? After Politico leaked Justice Alito’s draft opinion of the Dobbs case, the Wall Street Journal—cognizant of Buffett’s nonagenarian status and his obsession with abortion and “population control”—dug into what this opinion might mean for Buffet’s philanthropy.
The Journal published an analysis of the mega-investor’s likely post-mortem beneficiaries and accounted for his projected wealth to be distributed to those beneficiaries. The numbers are staggering, especially from the perspective of pro-life advocates. Despite his previous massive gifting, Buffet is currently estimated at nearly $90 billion in net worth.
And that number is only poised to grow dramatically while he remains on this side of the daisies. The Journal estimates that Mr. Buffet still holds $90 billion in Berkshire stock. The majority ($56 billion) is committed to the Gates Foundation. Another $17.4 billion is committed to four Buffet-family philanthropies. And the remaining $18.7 billion is uncommitted.
But that’s not all. If things stay the same—the rate at which Buffett gives and the stock performance—those shares will increase to “more than $200 billion in a decade.”
The most preeminent of the four Buffett family philanthropies is the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) after Buffett’s first wife, who had passed away in 2004. If there is an abortion-related organization STBF has not funded, it likely not for lack of trying. Again, per the Journal:
It keeps most of its activities private, often making donations anonymously, in keeping with Susan Buffett’s desire to focus on the organizations who do the work rather than the ones who write the checks, said people familiar with the matter. It formed in 1964 and started providing college scholarships to students in Nebraska, but has spent the bulk of its funds on abortion access and reproductive health, according to annual tax filings.
Each of the family charities (STBF and one for each of his children) have prepared for the anticipated massive intake of funds that will flood them after Buffet dies. More than $17 billion committed to those philanthropies is massive already, but Buffett may be recalibrating the cut those family foundations will receive—and whatever the cut is, that amount will dramatically increase as long as Buffet lives and invests.
As a result, STBF has been hiring staff in preparation for this influx of funds. The Journal again:
While Mr. Buffett hasn’t revealed publicly how his estate will be divided, officials at both foundations have discussed in internal meetings that the amount left to the Buffett family foundation could be as high as $70 billion to $100 billion, some of the people said and documents show. An endowment of that size would make the Buffett foundation one of the largest private philanthropies in the world, based on publicly available data.
That the world’s possibly largest philanthropy will be dedicated to abortion should give pro-life nonprofits pause.
Already the grantmaking from STBF is staggering—and apparently this is only the beginning. According to its most recent IRS Form 990, the Foundation (its website limits its public marketing and publicity to “Buffett Scholarship” applications for Nebraska natives) retains assets of over $1.2 billion. The largest single grant recipient ($16.3 million) was the United Nations Population Fund, which is dedicated to “reproductive health care for women and youth in more than 150 countries,” and whose controversial activities have included support for Communist China’s “one-child policy” program that became notorious for forced late-term abortions, forced sterilization of women, and infanticide.
The abortion funding goes on. STBF’s abortion-related grantees also included the Center for Reproductive Rights ($5 million), Catholics for Choice ($1 million), the Ethiopia-based Center for International Reproductive Health Training ($9.5 million), Carolina Abortion Fund ($80,000), California Latinas for Reproductive Justice ($350,000), Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights ($1.1 million), and the Mexico-based Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir ($1.4 million).
And those are just the pro-abortion nonprofits whose name begin with the letter “C”!
As for the usual suspects, in 2020 STBF gave International Planned Parenthood Federation and the National Abortion Federation each over $8 million, $3.4 million for various “NARAL” entities, and over $25 million for at least 18 domestic Planned Parenthood-related outfits. There’s more to report, but that should give you the picture.
PRO-LIFE PUNCHING UP
The pro-life movement has historically been wildly outspent. A 2021 National Committee for Responsible Philanthropy report estimates $1.7 billion was donated to pro-abortion groups between 2015-2019 (it complains only a fifth of that amount was spent on “funding support for procedures”).
True, abortion foes have realized important public policy and legal victories—none less impressive than last month’s Dobbs ruling; but the fact remains that big philanthropy bucks, spent lavishly at home and abroad, have underwritten an entrenched and determined industry with a ledger showing over 60 million extinguished fetal lives in the last half century, in the U.S. alone.
A forthcoming scenario in which the cash made available to pro-abortion groups grows exponentially—in part because of how Warren Buffett may contour his estate plans—may result in an unborn body count that, like his dollars, are counted in billions.
If they aren’t already—and we shall assume they are—pro-life advocates need to prepare strategies for this tsunami of very bloody money that intends to dwarf whatever victories the movement might hope to achieve for innocent preborn life in courthouses and statehouses.