Acton Institute Powerblog

Buffett, Gates, and Stewardship

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

It is one thing to create wealth by using our gifts. This is a matter of knowledge. It is quite a different thing to know what to do with the wealth that has been created. That is where wisdom comes into the picture. Rev. Zandstra, a Senior Fellow with the Acton Institute, examines Warren Buffett’s recent gift of $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and offers words of hope that the Gates Foundation can use this wealth with wisdom, making a difference in the lives of those they seek to help.

Read the full commentary here.

Jonathan Spalink


  • Clay Bryant

    Being originally from Nebraska,I’ve always tracked what Warren Buffett was doing,always wondered what eventually would happen in the way his money is distributed.The answer has been worth waiting for.This emphasizes to a certain degree the strength in numbers when it comes to monatary things.To eradicate maleria is no longer a dream.Hopefully someday the world will look back on Warren and a world festival day will occur with one person in mind.

  • Jude Chua Soo Meng

    I enjoyed this commentary by REv Zandstra. Charity is not about building dependency but generates independence. I’ve been thinking recently why if God could, he did not simply supply us with effecient grace and all of us would be saved. Instead he gives sufficient grace, and as St Paul says, we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. It occurs to me that God’s way is to save our souls by letting the soul contribute to its self development, giving it the freedom and space to make choices itself, to throw itself into the future freely, to participate in its own self development.

  • Clare Krishan

    May I offer a word of caution to the readers of "Markets and MORALITY" about the deeply troubling unresolved moral questions behind the ethical choices of these three individuals. If they truely cared for their fellows in far off lands they would not be promoting abortion as the solution to their existential crisis of poverty, and if your journal is truely concerned with morality it would not be promoting the work of funders of canabalistic exploitation of human embyronic stem cells. Development of therapeutic drugs and vaccines is a cause most worthy of their funds, but should be ‘designated’ towards a life-giving not a life-taking philosophy in alieviating mankind’s suffering.


    Warren Buffett funded mifepristone, RU-486 ending the earthly life of 1/2 million souls in US alone and a handful of their mothers too after they failed to seek treatment for resulting blood poisoning. Mr & Mrs Gates fund Planned Parenthood. The Family Research Council cites reports "that Buffett and Gates visited communist China in 1995 and made sure to visit a ‘family planning’ clinic along the Yangtze." In my book of virtues, those who support foreign powers in denying liberty aren’t philanthropists but despots!

  • Edward Mokurai Cherlin

    I am glad that Warren Buffett has chosen to give away most of his personal forture to help the poor, and saddened that he has chosen the Gates Foundation as the recipient.

    Bill Gates is the world’s foremost opponent of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), which is vital to combatting poverty. Microsoft intends to reap many, many billions of dollars in profit from the currently poor countries by convincing them to use Windows through giveaways to governments and non-profits such as the Grameen Foundation USA Village Computing Project.

    Among the programs that will be far more effective at combatting poverty is One Laptop Per Child, which is offering a laptop computer running FOSS exclusively, at a cost of $140 each. Six countries have so far signed up for a million or more units each: Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Uruguay. The result of educating more than half a billion children (when the program is at full development) will be many trillions of dollars of new annual economic activity over the next generation.

    It is the difference between a handout and a hand up; between teaching a man to fish, and teaching a community to make fishing gear for local use, and packaged fish products for the world market. It is the difference between the so-called foreign aid that the US government gives out, with the catch that the money has to be spent in the US, and casting your bread upon the waters.