Craig and Susan McCaw

NET WORTH: $1.75 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: McCaw Cellular, Clearwire, Eagle River Investments

FUNDING AREAS: Education Access & Advancement, International Economic Development, Environmental Conservation

OVERVIEW: The majority of Craig McCaw’s grantmaking is directed through the Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation. The foundation primarily gives in education access and advancement, international economic development, and environmental conservation. 

BACKGROUND: Craig McCaw graduated from Stanford. In 1966, McCaw and his brothers took over their dad's cable TV business. They sold McCaw Cellular to AT&T in 1994 for $12.6 billion. He was chairman of telecom operator Clearwire, and now chairs intellectual property firm Pendrell, which has sued big tech firms for alleged patent infringement.


EDUCATION: McCaw has focused the majority of his education donation dollars on higher ed—more specifically, his alma mater, Stanford, to which he has donated at least $20 million over the years. Other grantees have included Cate School, Khan Academy, Harvard Business School, Santa Barbara City College and Horatio Alger Association. 

GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The McCaws tend to support larger international organizations working in the field of global economic development, including Grameen Foundation USA and Ashoka Foundation. They have also steadily supported the Malala Fund of late to back education for young women. The McCaws wrote a $4 million check to Union Internationale des Telecommunications, which focuses on improving telecom infrastructure in developing countries. Other grantees have included Council on Foreign Relations, Nuru International, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.

ENVIRONMENT: McCaw has been supporting environmental causes since he was married to his first wife, Wendy, a strong animal rights activist. Though the couple divorced in 1997, he has continued to support environment and wildlife habitat conservation efforts. He has donated $1 million to the Jane Goodall Institute and is a big supporter of the Nature Conservancy. Additionally, in 1994, McCaw was revealed as a major donor to The Free Willy Foundation.

CANCER: Grantees have included Dana-Farber and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

LOOKING AHEAD: Craig McCaw has remained pretty steady in his philanthropy over the past decade or so, making it likely that he will not stray too far from the philanthropic path he has already established. On the other hand, the Giving Pledge commitment suggests that the McCaws will eventually have to step up their giving, so bigger things are likely to come. 


Craig and Susan McCaw Foundation
PO Box 2908
Kirkland, WA 98083