Charlie Munger Drops $142 Million in Two Weeks

When he's not busy saying anti-Semitic things on TV, Charlie Munger, "sidekick" of Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, indulges in a spot of philanthropy. Munger gave $32 million to Huntington Library last week and $110 million to University of Michigan last month. These aren't fluke gifts; Munger has given steadily to both of these institutions over the past decade. But since he transferred nearly half of his Berkshire holdings to a family trust in November of 2010, the frequency of his giving has intensified.

Along with his wife, Nancy, Munger’s first gift was $13 million to found LA’s Munger Science Center, which opened in 1995. He later donated more Class A Hathaway stock for the construction of a middle school at Harvard-Westlake’s campus in 2006. The couple continued their support for K-12 schools in Southern California with more company shares at an estimated total value of $20 million to two institutions in 2007: Marlborough School in LA and Polytechnic School in Pasadena.

Munger’s affair with Huntington Library began in 2002 with a gift of $21 million for what the LA Daily News reported as a "90,000-square-foot addition to the Huntington's main library." The addition houses a collection of "4.5 million manuscripts and 350,000 rare books" and focuses on British and American literature and the history of medicine, technology, and science. Mentioned above, the more recent gift to Huntington will subsidize a "new education and visitors center, which is expected to open in 2015."

A subplot to Munger’s higher ed philanthropy involves Stanford University. There, he and his wife dropped $43.5 million in 2004 to build a new residence for graduate students at the business and law schools. But the main story centers on University of Michigan. Munger, most recently estimated to be worth $1.1 billion by Forbes, studied at UMich briefly before joining the US Army Air Corps where he served as a meteorologist.

He gave $3 million to the university’s law school for lighting improvements in 2007: one of two precursors to the $110 million mentioned above. The other was a $20 million gift from Munger to University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus for renovations to their law school.

Munger’s gifts punctuate his biography. All educational institutions attended by Munger and his loved ones seem to be potential recipients.