CITY ( TheStreet) -- Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) made its annual gift to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Thursday, a lump distribution of Berkshire Hathaway shares this year valued at $1.6 billion, based on Thursday's closing price. It's the fifth year that Warren Buffett has handed over a huge chunk of Berkshire Hathaway B shares to the Gates Foundation, and the 2010 Berkshire Hathaway grant of 20.3 million class B shares represented a recovery from last year's donation. In 2009, with Berkshire Hathaway stock floundering, the annual gift from Warren Buffett to the Gates Foundation was over 21 million shares, but it only had a value of $1.2 billion. The 2010 charitable donation of Berkshire Hathaway shares represents a 28% increase in value over 2009, when losses in the consumer-related businesses that Berkshire Hathaway owns dragged down its returns. In the last one-year period, through Thursday, Berkshire Hathaway shares have gained close to 37%. In all, Buffett plans to give 500 million shares to the Gates Foundation. With the latest donation, Warren Buffett has passed along 113 million shares to the Gates Foundation in the five years since he began to give away his personal fortune to the charity. The 2010 Berkshire Hathaway gift value of $1.6 billion, is in third place among the first five years of gifts made by Warren Buffett to the Gates Foundation. In 2007 and 2008, the Berkshire Hathaway share gifts were valued at roughly $1.8 billion. The latest charitable effort from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates is to encourage every American on Forbes list of the 400 Richest Americans to pledge at least 50% of their net worth to charity. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.