On Monday, Huntsman applauded Buffett's generous gift of $31 billion to the Gates Foundation but said he was surprised Buffett did not choose to have the bulk of his wealth controlled by family foundations.
"Most people who are in the business of donating large sums of money have very specific charitable interests," Huntsman said. "That's a very unique situation when you find people who not only have great wealth but are also great friends and . . . want to direct their charitable giving into the same areas."
Huntsman has given $510 million to charitable causes during his life and expects to raise $1 billion to $2 billion more when the sale of Huntsman Chemical Corp. is completed. The money will go to the Jon and Karen Huntsman Foundation and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Huntsman wants to ensure that 75 percent of his wealth will be spent in Utah and that the money will fund cancer research, medical care for cancer patients and other causes he holds dear, such as aid for abused women and children and scholarships for underprivileged youth.
Warren Buffett's contribution of about $1.5 billion a year to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be used to seek cures for the world's worst diseases and improve American education, Bill Gates said Monday.
''There is no reason we can't cure the top 20 diseases,'' Gates said while appearing with Buffett during a donation ceremony at the New York Public Library.
The Buffett and Gates families, as well as onlookers, were beaming as the so-called Oracle of Omaha officially made his benevolence a reality.
''There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way,'' Buffett said. He presented the biggest gift to Gates, and $1 billion donations to his own foundation and the foundations run by each of his three children.
Buffett said he had made some suggestions about how to use the money. But ''I think their judgment above the ground is going to be a lot better than mine six feet below the ground,'' he said at a later appearance.
Buffett said his children have known all along that much of their family's wealth would be given back to society. ''They consider themselves lucky. They don't consider themselves quite as lucky as if they had a father with a different view.''
In a letter dated Monday, Buffett had informed Bill and Melinda Gates that the first donation of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stock would go to the foundation next month.
The foundation, which has assets of $30.6 billion, spends money on world health, poverty and increasing access to technology in developing countries. In the United States, it focuses on education and technology in public libraries.
The money from Buffett, who is 75 but considered strong and healthy, comes with a significant catch.
The letter says Buffett wants all his money to be distributed in the year it is donated, not added to the foundation's assets for future giving. The foundation gave away $1.36 billion in 2005, so the Buffett commitment would effectively double its spending.
The Buffett pledge also requires that Bill and Melinda Gates remain alive and active in the policy-setting and administration of the foundation. Buffett plans to give each foundation 5 percent of his total pledge each year in July.
The top Utah foundations by annual giving, circa 2003, are:
1. The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation,
2. The Jon and Karen Huntsman Foundation, $15.4 million
3. The Ashton Family Foundation, $7.1 million
4. Dr. W.C. Swanson Family Foundation Inc., $6.7 million
5. Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, $5.6 million
Source: The Foundation Center