NET WORTH: $65 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Actor
FUNDING AREAS: Parkinson's Disease
OVERVIEW: Since publicly announcing he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1998, Michael J. Fox has become the face of the disease. Establishing the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, his organization has become the largest and most recognizable funder for treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
BACKGROUND: Fox grew up in Edmonton, Canada, and got his start in acting on the Canadian television series Leo and Me. At 18, he moved to Los Angeles to further his acting career, and got his break playing Alex Keaton on the show Family Ties. He was also cast as Marty McFly in Back to the Future, and went on to star or appear in many TV shows and movies over the next two decades, most notably the TV show Spin City, where he starred as Deputy Mayor of New York Michael Flaherty. In 1998, Fox publicly disclosed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 1991. In 2000, Fox went into semi-retirement, and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
MICHAEL J. FOX FOUNDATION: Since its founding in 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has funded more than $700 million to accelerate a cure for Parkinson's disease. The organization has continued to grow every year, funding $87.8 million in research programs in 2015. The foundation supports high-risk, high-reward research, including stem cell research. The foundation has a number of major supporters, including Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, who have donated at least $50 million. It’s difficult to discern exactly how much of Fox’s own money has been put into his organization, but clearly he’s dedicated a lot of time to the issue, and has brought attention and resources to the cause in a way that only a celebrity of his stature can.
CHARITABLE EVENTS: Most of the events Fox participates in benefit his organization, or other organizations that fight Parkinson’s disease, including Celebrity Fight Night and the 9/11 anniversary fundraising event. He’s also helped grant wishes through Kids Wish Foundation.
LOOKING FORWARD: Expect Fox to continue to remain laser focused on Parkinson's research.