Meet Mark Zuckerberg And 10 Other Tech Philanthropists

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 03, 2015


The huge philanthropic pledge by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan totaling perhaps $45 billion — reflects the fast-paced emergence of a new wave of giving. When Mark Zuckerberg signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, he was only worth $6 billion. Now his net worth is estimated at $46.8 billion.

Zuckerberg announced the birth of his daughter Max December 1. In a Facebook post announcing her arrival, Zuckerberg shared that he and wife Priscilla Chan plan to give away most of their wealth. “As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities. We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”

The couple also gave $75 million in February 2015 to the San Francisco General Hospital, allowing it to add two trauma rooms, three operating rooms and to double the size of its emergency room.

Although known for their rich CEOs and skyrocketing revenues, the tech industry is breeding more philanthropists than ever.  They are increasingly providing a huge source of philanthropic giving for communities in need. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 15th annual “Philanthropy 50″ list, released earlier in 2015 compiled the 50 most generous donors of last year, with nearly 25% donors from the tech world.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest tech names in philanthropy and what they are doing to support their communities and the world at large.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft: The World’s Richest Man, who had been enjoying the honor for 15 out of the last 20 years has also given more than any other living person. In addition to co-creating the Giving Pledge, a campaign for billionaires to commit to giving away the majority of their financial assets upon their deaths, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given away $28 billion to charities around the world since its inception.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce: Benioff’s company was founded on the 1-1-1 model. This means, 1% donation of all profit; 1% donation of employee time to volunteering; 1% of product donated to non-profits. This has resulted in donations of more than 650,000 hours to local charities. In addition, Benioff has made an effort to encourage the tech community at large to give back now rather than waiting until after their deaths.

AOL co-founder Steve Case: Case helped millions of Americans get online, and now he’s donating much of his wealth to developing other technologies. He founded the Case Foundation in 1997, which focuses on using technology to make philanthropy more effective. He also started an investment firm called Revolution, which invests in startups outside of Silicon Valley. “We do not believe our assets are ‘ours’ but rather we try to be the responsible stewards of these resources,” he said in an interview.

Eric Lefkosky, CEO of Groupon: Along with his wife Liz, Lefkosky has created a $1 million partnership with Google and Motorola to launch 1871 FEMTech, an organization designed to fund 10 to 15 women-owned tech start-ups this year. The couple is also looking to develop into opportunities in their hometown of Chicago, particularly with regard to increasing the number of women in the tech field.

Jan Koum, CEO and co-founder of WhatsApp: Koum is a major donor. Last February, Facebook bought WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service, for $19 billion. Eight months later, the 38-year-old Ukrainian immigrant gave $556 million to the Silicon Valley Community Fund in 2014. He believes FreeBSD, that offers a free open-source operating system would “lift more immigrant kids out of poverty and help more start-ups build something successful, and even transformative.

Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus: After Iribe sold his virtual reality company to Facebook for $2 billion, he immediately turned around and made a $31 million donation to his alma mater, the University of Maryland, to build the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation. A portion of this, the largest donation in the history of the university, will also go toward setting up a scholarship for Computer Science students, who wish to pioneer this space.

Oracle founder Larry Ellison: Despite a luxurious lifestyle, Larry Ellison has committed to giving away 95 percent of his wealth to charitable causes, especially to his medical foundation.”Warren Buffett personally asked me to write this letter because he said I would be ’setting an example’ and ‘influencing others’ to give. I hope he’s right,” his letter to the Giving Pledge said in August 2010. He is reportedly teaching his children charitable giving, so that they can join the cause.

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple: This year, Tim Cook plans to give away his entire fortune, after setting money aside to pay for a 10-year-old nephew’s college education, according to the Fortune article available online Friday and to appear in a printed version of the magazine due out at the start of April. His net worth was estimated at about $120 million, based on the amount of Apple stock he owns. Cook also owns restricted shares that could be worth $65 million if they become fully vested. Cook told Fortune that he has been donating money discreetly, but intends to adopt a more systematic approach.

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore

Moore has given away more than $1 billion to charitable causes. He is most passionate about the environment, but has also made significant contributions toward scientific advancement and nursing programs. The foundation, which focuses on issues of environmental conservation, health measures, and the San Francisco community, currently has more than $6 billion in assets, , ensuring that his philanthropic legacy will continue long after he is gone.. He and wife Betty signed Gates’ Giving Pledge in 2012. 
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar
Omidyar and his wife Pam have given away more than $1 billion of the vast fortune they made when eBay went public in 1998.They signed the Giving Pledge in 2010. Forbes estimates Omidyar’s net worth at $8.1 billion. “Our view is fairly simple. We have more money than our family will ever need. There’s no need to hold onto it when it can be put to use today, to help solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.”They’ve also donated eBay shares to the Omidyar Network, their philanthropic investment firm, and are the single biggest private donors in the fight against human trafficking.

(Compiled by Sohini Bagchi)