NET WORTH: $30.4 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Google
FUNDING AREAS: Technological advance, clean energy
OVERVIEW: Page sits on the boards of several nonprofits, but his personal philanthropy seems to be channeled through Google. Most of his giving is directed toward technological advancement, particularly in the clean energy sector. His own foundation, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Fund, has assets over a half billion dollars, but the only gift in 2012 was for $29 million, and went to the Vanguard Charitable Endowment, a donor-advised fund that makes it virtually impossible to see where Page's money is actually going, if it's going anywhere at all.
PROFILE: Ever since he built a programmable plotter and inkjet printer out of Legos during his days at Stanford, Larry Page has refused to see limits in what he can do. This attitude is what he has referred to as "...a healthy disregard for the impossible." Originally from Michigan, Page did his undergraduate work at University of Michigan before attending Stanford for his graduate degrees. After Stanford, Page cofounded Google, where he is currently the CEO.
PHILOSOPHY: Page has amassed his fortune largely by taking risks and doing things others said couldn't be done, and his philanthropic endeavors reflect much the same philosophy. In an interview with the Academy of Achievement in 2000, Page said:
I think there is tremendous responsibility (to go along with success and wealth). If I was not in this situation, my biggest concern would be the concentration of wealth and power in a very small number of people. On the other hand, it is nice to be rewarded for what you do. There are a lot of things I would like to do in the world that having a lot of resources would really help with.
TECHNOLOGY: Through Google.org, his company's philanthropic arm, Page is attempting to discover ways to use science and modern technology to solve the world's most persistent societal problems, especially when it comes to the development of environmentally sustainable energy. He has demonstrated a commitment to this concept through his investment in companies such as Tesla Motors, which is developing long-range battery-powered vehicles, and through investments made as part of his stewardship of Google.org. These investments include $130 million to a company that makes solar panels and $10 million to a company developing a kite system that will tap into jet streams for power, as well as a demonstration project attempting to generate electrical power using geothermal energy.
Outside of his Google.org endeavors, Page is a board member of the X Prize Foundation, which organizes large-scale competitions in five major categories: education, global development, energy and environment, life sciences, and exploration. The purpose of the competitions is to stimulate investment in research and development designed to bring about change that hopefully will benefit humanity.