Billionaire Warren Buffett built a fortune investing his money but in recent decades has drawn attention for committing to give nearly all of it away.
In a new interview, Make-A-Wish Foundation CEO Richard Davis says the Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A, BRK-B) CEO “embodies” the work performed by the organization, highlighting Buffett’s longtime commitment to philanthropy.
“A guy like Warren Buffett embodies everything that Make-A-Wish does, giving back and doing it for a lifetime with intent,” says Davis, who developed a personal relationship with Buffett while chief executive at U.S. Bancorp.
Davis took over as CEO of U.S. Bancorp in 2006. That same year, Buffett took a large stake in the bank, kicking off a friendship between the two men.
“He was one of my largest shareholders the entire time that I was CEO,” says Davis, who left U.S. Bancorp in 2017. “I learned a lot from him.”
“I can translate all of those to the nonprofit world,” he adds. “Because loyalty matters, and so does long term views of things because you do smarter decisions when you think about the long view.”
Davis spoke to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
In 2006, Buffett partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to give most of his money away. The Giving Pledge, which calls on wealthy individuals to give away more than half of their wealth, came about four years later.
Buffett grabs headlines each year for a charity lunch auction that raises as much as $4.5 million for the chance to share a meal with the Oracle of Omaha.
Davis said a number of celebrities have completed virtual conversations with children since the pandemic rendered travel impossible, including Oprah Winfrey, DJ Khaled, and Justin Bieber.
“The videos were as remarkable as anything I've seen since I've been here,” says Davis, who took over as CEO last year. “The selfless, thoughtful, sweet nature of the celebrities is unparalleled.”
Correction: A prior version of this article incorrectly stated that Buffett had met with children through the Make-A-Wish foundation.