Paul Buchheit, one of Google's original executives, has a rather hazy record of public giving, in health or otherwise. A few years back, he conducted a "crowdsourcing of philanthropy" if you will, and used FriendFeed and Google Moderator to field donation ideas, putting a call up on his blog. Besides an interesting glance at what a crowdsourced model of philanthropy might look like, it's unclear what the status of this project is, and if any giving actually came out of it.
But also on Buchheit's blog is a powerful and personal recounting of two health challenges he's faced over the years. Buchheit's first challenge involved his older brother, who passed away from pancreatic cancer at only 33. Buccheit did a lot of introspection and says this experience motivated him and his wife April to try to have kids.
Fast forward a bit to when April, in the late stages of her pregnancy, was traveling with Buchheit in rural New Mexico. That's when trouble struck: April started to bleed, and was airlifted in order to deliver. Their daughter was born 100 days premature and weighed only one pound and 10 ounces. In the days and weeks after, their daughter faced a number of health problems, including a buildup of fluid in her brain. Eventually, doctors cleared the family to go home.
Thankfully, this story appears to have ended well, and as of a few years ago, their daughter was reportedly a healthy child. But of course, these are the kinds of experiences that stick with you.
Thereafter, in the tradition of Buchheit's crowdfunding ways, April set up a fund through Causes.com with the goal of raising $55,555 for the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) at UCSF Children's Hospital, where their daughter spent the first several months of her life. The fundraising was aimed at "funding hospital neonatal supplies and monitoring equipment, family-oriented support programs, and neurodevelopmental programs."
Given what the Buccheits went through, it's no surprise that health, particularly neonatal and pediatric health, would be of interest. Still, it's important to emphasize that for now, Buchheit's fortune, estimated at around $600 million, has barely been tapped. The couple doesn't even appear to have a philanthropic vehicle. On the other hand, they're still pretty young and given the personal elements involved here, once money does start moving out the door, health might be a key area.
Related: Paul Buchheit Profile