Omaha philanthropist and retired businessman Walter Scott Jr. transferred most of his holdings in Level 3 Communications to the family foundation that he and his late wife, Suzanne, formed in 1990.
Scott, 82, is chairman of the Colorado-based Level 3 and chairman emeritus of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. of Omaha.
He transferred shares — 1.75 million worth $54 million — to the foundation, Level 3 said Tuesday, and kept 160,000 shares worth $4.9 million, enough to meet the qualifications to remain a director of the company.
The Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation had $215 million in assets at the end of 2011 and made grants totaling $26 million that year. Suzanne Scott died Sept. 9.
The shares of stock in Level 3, a communications network company, represent only part of Scott’s wealth. He ranked No. 252 on Forbes magazine’s latest list of wealthy Americans with a net worth of $2.2 billion, mostly earned through the Kiewit company’s construction and mining businesses.
He also is a director of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha-based conglomerate headed by Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, and owns $18 million in Berkshire stock.
The Scotts formed the foundation mostly to support the Omaha Community Foundation and other Omaha causes, including the University of Nebraska’s at Omaha campus, that emphasize civic, cultural, health, education and social services in the area.
Omaha-area groups receiving money from the foundation include the Boy Scouts, the Omaha Zoological Society, the Avenue Scholars Foundation, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, the United Way, Joslyn Art Museum, Heritage Services, Lauritzen Gardens, the Nebraska Humane Society, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the Child Saving Institute and the Omaha Symphony.
In 2010, Scott signed the Giving Pledge, a nonbinding agreement organized by Buffett and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to encourage wealthy people to give at least half their wealth to charitable causes.