Every year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy puts out a list of the largest donors. (Mark Zuckerberg came out on top in 2013.) But Inside Philanthropy calls that a vanity metric. Looking at the percentage of wealth an individual has given away, they argue, is the best measure of generosity.
Using that method, the blog lists 12 of the most generous donors in tech—including Mark Zuckerberg (no. 10), Pierre Omidyar (no. 9), Bill Gates (no. 3)—as well as six Scrooge McDucks using their stockpiles as a swimming pool.
The top of the most generous list is filled with names far from the spotlight, like Cisco cofounders Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner (no. 1) or Intel cofounder Gordon Moore (no. 2). The six least generous people, however, reads like a Who's Who in tech, including the owners of corporations consumers interact with every day.
The list is not ranked, but you'll find Amazon Google CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Larry Page, recently resigned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, and unrepentant yachtsman Larry Ellison.
Amazon's chief—a libertarian known for his belief in self-reliance—engaged in virtually no philanthropy for years, and eventually took some heat in Seattle for not supporting good works locally. For a long time, his parents did more giving with their Amazon shares than Bezos did with his billions. [...]
If this Googe co-founder, who's worth $32 billion, has a secret philanthropic life, we'd love to know about it. Because right now it looks like he's a big cheerleader for Google's philanthropic and social endeavors, but he's kicking the can down the road in terms of engaging in his own serious philanthropy. [...]
Ballmer's only just left his all-consuming day job as Microsoft CEO, and we've predicted that he and his wife Connie—who's a nonprofit veteran—will soon turn on the giving spigot in a big way, drawing on a $19 billion fortune. Otherwise, Ballmer has largely been a no-show in terms of his own philanthropy beyond the occasional big gift here and there, even as Microsoft has ramped up its charitable giving under in his leadership. [...]
... the actual percentage of his large fortune that he's given away appears to be minute. Any typical middle class U.S. household is, statistically, likely to be more generous in relative terms that this massive tech winner. Meanwhile, Birch and Xochi shelled out $29 million for a mansion in Pacific Heights and then $13.6 million for a vineyard estate in Sonoma. More recently, Birch has spent millions on his latest cause, which is a private club where the Bay Area elite can hobnob.
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