Berry Gordy

NET WORTH: $345 million, estimated

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder of Motown Records

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Health & Human Services

OVERVIEW: Berry Gordy and family move their philanthropy through the Berry Gordy Family Foundation, which has given under $200,000 in recent years. The family via their foundation supports select causes in education, the arts, and health. It's tough to establish a clear throughline with Gordy's giving, though personal connections appear to play a strong role. Los Angeles is an important region.

BACKGROUND: Berry Gordy was born in Detroit in 1929.  He tried his hand at several careers, including boxing. With an $800 loan from his family, Gordy founded what would become Motown Records in 1959, and the rest is history. He developed storied artists including The Supremes, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. Gordy sold the company in 1988 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that same year.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: Berry Gordy has supported places like Heroes and Legends Scholarship Foundation, which was created by Motown alum Janie Bradford to "aid at risk youth and to publicly recognize others who share her vision"; Debbie Allen Dance Academy; Pepperdine University; Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine; and Fulfillment Fund, which empowers youth through education.

ARTS & CULTURE: Grantees have included California Science Center Foundation, Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Musicares Foundation.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Gordy and family have supported Brent Shapiro Fund for Drug Awareness; Children’s Diabetes Foundation; Judy Fund | Alzheimer's Association; The Heart Foundation; Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade, a "grassroots organization with a vision of improving quality of life and meeting the unmet needs of low-income, underserved, under-represented and disenfranchised individual"; and Thalians, which focuses on mental health.

OTHER: Gordy has also supported Jewish outfits, including American Friends of Hebrew University, and U.S. Holocaust Memorial Foundation. A component of his philanthropy supports global organizations like Dream for Future Africa Foundation, and Hunt Foundation, established by two doctors in L.A. to help bring "equality to the field of medicine across international borders."

LOOKING FORWARD: In his 80s, Gordy is one of the nation's wealthiest black Americans. His philanthropy through his foundation of late has been modest, though he may have other more direct avenues of giving.


The Berry Gordy Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:

The Berry Gordy Family Foundation
933 Cecina Way
Los Angeles, CA 90077