David Duffield

NET WORTH: $6.5 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder of PeopleSoft and Workday

FUNDING AREAS: Animal rights and no-kill animal shelters

OVERVIEW: David Duffield's approach to philanthropy revolves around a promise he once made to his dog and best friend, Maddie to give as much of his wealth as possible to animal rights and no-kill animal shelters. His organization, Maddie's Fund, has become a leading organization in these areas. 

BACKGROUND: In 1987, Duffield mortgaged his house to cofound PeopleSoft with friend and business partner Ken Morris. After a period of mediocre growth, a few acquisitions, and a few funding and legal issues, PeopleSoft began growing at a faster pace than the founders may have anticipated. To finance the company's growth, Duffield decided to take PeopleSoft public. The 1992 initial public offering netted the company $36 million and a stock price that increased more than 60% on the same day. A short time later, Duffield and company held a secondary offering, netting the company more than $50 million.

PeopleSoft continued to experience 80% to 90% year-over-year growth through much of the 1990s, with growth slowing toward the end of the decade. People definitely took notice of the human resources management software (HRMS) company, with Oracle founder Larry Ellison perhaps paying the most attention. In 2003, Larry Ellison launched a hostile takeover attempt of PeopleSoft. After 18 months, a number of back-and-forth negotiations, and a trial, the takeover attempt finally ended in late 2004 with Ellison as the victor, shelling out $26.50 per share. Total acquisition price tag: $10.3 billion.

Duffield left the company before the transition was to take place and started a new company: Workday, which went public in 2012. It was a human resources and financial management software company that used cloud computing.

Between PeopleSoft and Workday, Duffield sits firmly on the billionaire's list, and has dedicated a good portion of his fortune to charity.

ANIMAL RIGHTS: When Duffield's Dog Maddie passed in 1997, the Duffields decided to change the name of their Duffield Family Foundation to Maddie's Fund. The Duffield Family Foundation set up Maddie's Fund with a $300 million endowment. Since then, Duffield has committed a significant portion of his nearly $5 billion in wealth to animal rights. The goal of Maddie's Fund is to reduce the number of stray pets who are euthanized annually at animal shelters. In 2015, Maddie's Fund projects that the number of dogs and cats euthanized per 1,000 Americans will drop to a record low of two. In 1990, that number was 35.7.

By most accounts, the foundation has had a major impact. It has already begun to change the way many shelters think about the "no-kill" concept, and many more shelters are adopting the no-kill policy because of the financial incentives Maddie's Fund provides for doing so. In all, the Maddie's Fund has awarded animal welfare organizations and universities more than $172 million. The emphasis on the no-kill concept hasn't been seen as all positive, however, for Maddie's Fund or Duffield, for that matter. As his philanthropic vision has come under public scrutiny, it has actually created a debate in the animal rights community as to whether no-kill is the most humane approach to dealing with all strays.

Much of this increased scrutiny comes courtesy of the strings that Maddie's Fund attaches to its grants. To get a check under the fund's Community Lifesaving Awards program, shelters are required to put together a coalition of every animal welfare facility in a community to work toward a no-kill policy. Many have pointed out that such a goal is daunting, to say the least. But Maddie's Fund responds by noting that animal welfare groups in a number of communities that were once at each other's throats were suddenly able to get along and cooperate in the no-kill pledge when a million dollars was at stake.

After receiving a grant, grantees are required to make a monthly report to Maddie's Fund and meet targets regarding an increase in spaying and neutering and an overall decrease in animal deaths.

Maddie's Fund doesn't just give grants to no-kill shelters. While its giving is almost all animal-related, every year hundreds of dog and cat rescues receive generous donations from the Duffield Family Foundation as well. Grants are not available for government or international agencies. They are available only for shelters that handle dogs and cats.

However, Maddie's Fund looks to be in a state of transition, as they recently announced the closing of many of their past programs and instead have shifted their focus exclusively to supporting colleges of veterinary medicine.

 

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