John and Leslie Malone

NET WORTH: $7.2 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Liberty Media Corporation

FUNDING AREAS: Higher education, K-12 education, conservation and preservation

OVERVIEW: John Malone and his wife Leslie are based in Colorado, and run the Malone Family Foundation, established in 1997. The foundation has held assets exceeding $100 million in recent years, and gives away millions every year. While the Malones have not signed the Giving Pledge, Malone has said most of his money will go to charity. 

BACKGROUND: John Malone got a B.A. in electrical engineering and economics from Yale, an M.S. in industrial engineering from Johns Hopkins and an M.S. from NYU. He also holds a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. He worked at Bell Labs, McKinsey & Company, and Tele-Communications Inc. Currently, Malone chairs Liberty Media. Malone is also the largest individual landowner in the country.


HIGHER EDUCATION: Malone's philanthropy in this area prioritizes his alma maters. Yale has received tens of millions. In 2000, Malone gave $24 million for the construction of Yale's Daniel L. Malone Engineering Center, named in honor of his father. In 2011, Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences received a $50 million gift. John's Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering has also received $30 million.

Another site of philanthropy for Malone is Colorado, where he and his wife gave $42.5 million to Colorado State University to fund regenerative medicine in animals and eventually human beings. In 2013, the Malones gave $6 million to Colorado State to establish the Leslie A. Malone Presidential Chair in Equine Sports Medicine. The couple own horse ranches in various parts of the country. 

K-12 EDUCATION:  Historically, in this area, Malone was particularly interested in gifted students in grades 7-12 and supported them through the now concluded Malone Scholars program. Malone also has supported The Stanford University Online High School (OHS), an independent school for gifted students in grades 7-12. Recent Malone Family Foundation grantees have included DSST Public Schools, Maret School, and Pulaski Academy.

CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION: Malone, the largest individual landowner in the United States, has used some of his estimated 2.2 million acres of land for various conservation and preservation efforts. Malone has said that all the land the couple owns will go into the Malone Family Trust, to be preserved forever as open space.

LOOKING FORWARD: Malone has said that most of his money will go to philanthropy, which makes him someone to keep an eye on, especially when he retires from business. One obvious place his money might go is into endowments to help maintain and preserve large nature preserves created from his land holdings. It remains to be seen if the Malone Family Foundation will play a larger role in the couple's non-education efforts.