NET WORTH: $5.1 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder of Kingston Technologies
FUNDING AREAS: Health and Education, predominately in Taiwan
OVERVIEW: In 2001, Sun and his wife, Diana, founded the David and Diana Sun Foundation. The foundation makes millions of dollars in grants each year, with most of the grantmaking going to fund education and health-care programs in Sun's birth country of Taiwan. The foundation did make a $500,000 contribution to a group supporting the Chinese community in Orange County, California in 2011, in addition to its support of health education in Taiwan. The foundation's total giving may reach into the millions of dollars, but very few grants are awarded annually.
BACKGROUND: Sun is a Taiwanese immigrant whose life in the business world began when he met John Tu and started selling computer memory modules out of a garage. The business grew by leaps and bounds until Black Monday, October 19, 1987, when the stock market crashed and Sun and Tu lost everything. Rather than giving up however, Sun and Tu went on to found their second company, Kingston Technology. After nine years of enormous success, Sun wanted a break from the business, so in 1996 he and Tu sold an 80% stake in Kingston to Japanese tech company Softbank for $1.5 billion. Three years later they ended up repurchasing those shares for a mere $450 million. Kingston, which specializes in computer-related memory products, is now one of the 500 largest privately held companies in the world, with more than $5.4 billion per year in revenue.
PHILOSOPHY: When Sun and Tu sold a majority stake of Kingston Technologies to Softbank, they demonstrated their philanthropic side by taking $100 million of the proceeds from the sale and distributing the money as bonuses to Kingston's 500 employees, with some of the bonuses reportedly being more than twice many employees' annual salary. Generally, they appear to be rather conservative, and their giving goes mostly toward community programs.
EDUCATION: The Suns are particularly generous when it comes to education, having given over $2 million to Mackay Medicine, Nursing, and Management College in Taiwan, and another million to the Orange County Community Foundation for scholarship funds.
- Albert Kong, David and Diana Sun Foundation, P.O. Box 8566, Fountain Valley, CA 92728, 714-435-2640