Rupert Murdoch

NET WORTH: $19.8 billion



OVERVIEW: Rupert Murdoch does his grantmaking through the Murdoch Foundation, which has not made many grants of late, at least according to public tax filings. He may have other avenues of grantmaking, however.

BACKGROUND: Rupert Murdoch grew up in Melbourne, where his parents owned two regional newspapers and a radio station. He was groomed to take over the family business from an early age, and once in charge expanded it to include holdings in the U.K. and then the U.S., including The New York Post, The Wall St. Journal, Dow Jones, HarperCollins, 21st Century Fox, and Fox Broadcasting Corporation. With the largest part of his business holdings in the U.S., Murdoch eventually moved his headquarters here and became a U.S. citizen. 

PHILANTHROPY: If Murdoch is doing any grantmaking, he is doing so quietly.  While his mother was a significant Australian philanthropist, primarily supporting the arts and health-related causes. There is a Murdoch Foundation, for which he is listed as the chairman and president, but it holds no assets, and has made no grants since 2008. And in the three years prior to that, it had only made about $6 million in grants, with more than half of that going to the Weill Cornell Medical School.

More recently, he has granted $15,000 to the Chelsea Pensioners Appeal in memory of Margaret Thatcher, $100,000 to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and $1 million to charities chosen by the family of Milly Dowler, who was murdered in 2002, and whose voicemail was accessed by journalists at Murdoch’s News of the World, which also led to a $2 million settlement. He also gave $2 million to Rick Warren’s PEACE Coalition, with the aim of mobilizing 1 billion Christians to spread their faith, and is a former member of the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

CORPORATE GIVING: News Corp. has a handful of what they call philanthropy partners that it works with, mostly on youth and education-related causes, though one of the organizations they have partnered with helps veterans transition back to civilian life. It is also created the Murdoch Community Hero Awards, supporting select organizations that work in education and community development. The amount of support given to each organization is unknown, but the grants have funded college scholarships for disadvantaged youth, teams competing in robotics competitions, affordable housing and temporary shelters, jobs programs, and meals, counseling and medical treatment for homeless and at-risk youth. News Corp. has also donated $20 million to the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation, which supports retired and struggling entertainment industry professionals, and $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

LOOKING FORWARD: Though well into his 80s Murdoch does not seem to be slowing down in his business dealings. He is no longer a director of News International, or the Chairman and CEO of News Corp., but he is still the Executive Chairman of News Corp., and the Chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox. Murdoch has not really been known as a major political contributor, but still it would not be surprising to see him make major contributions to the Cato Institute or other conservative think tanks, or even possibly set up his own. Another place to look, however, might be to Murdoch’s children. His older son Lachlan and Lachlan’s wife Sarah have worked on breast cancer advocacy and medical development, particularly with respect to HIV/AIDS, and his younger son James recently started the Quadrivium Foundation with his wife Kathryn.


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