Henry T. Nicholas III

NET WORTH: $3.5 billion


FUNDING AREAS: Education, Episcopal Church, Victim's Rights, Veterans, Services for the Poor, National Defense

OVERVIEW: Nicholas's most influential work has been in education and victim's rights, but he has a broad range of philanthropic interests. 

BACKGROUND: Henry T. Nicholas III once claimed his inspiration for starting Broadcom from a spare bedroom in a Southern California condo in 1991 was the music of Pink Floyd. He committed to give away $100 million to local charities over a five year period.


EDUCATION: Among the first recipients of his latest round of largesse was the University of California Irvine's school of electrical engineering. This followed a pattern of huge financial support for UC Irvine over the years, including the school's engineering and computer science programs, as well as the UCI Center for Pervasive Communications. He also established the Nicholas Prize for collaborative research. UCLA’s School of Engineering has also received support through the Nicholas Endowment grants, as has also supported the UCLA Astronomy Department’s Planetarium.

Nicholas's commitment to education has also resulted in the creation of the Nicholas Academic Centers, to which he's committed $10 million over 20 years. The Centers provide academic support for promising students and have provided scholarships to hundreds of students, so that they could attend some of the most prestigious universities across the nation. Other donations to educational institutions have included $10 million to St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in Orange County, in part to provide scholarships for promising students from Santa Ana, support to the Oakland Military Institute, and a donation to create a new wing at the Mt. Olive School in Kenya, which provides education for teenage girls. 

EPISCOPAL CHURCH:Nicholas's philanthropy is strongly influenced by his deep religious faith. Through his Foundation, he has been a strong supporter of Episcopal community causes, as well as Habitat for Humanity. Recently, Nicholas helped build Gordon's House, which was named for Episcopal priest Gordon Yeaton, who had been a Habitat for Humanity board member before he passed away in 2007.

VETERANS: Nicholas has provided support for Habitat’s Homes for Heroes, a San Juan Capistrano neighborhood for disabled veterans and surviving families of veterans who died in service to their country.

VICTIM'S RIGHTS: Nicholas helped found the nonprofit organization Justice for Homicide Victims, Inc. to support the families of murder victims. He subsequently put a lot of time and money into campaigning for Marsy's Law, a crime victim's bill of rights named for his sister, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 1983, and has been the inspiration for Nicholas's philanthropy in this area. The bill was passed into law in 2008.

ENVIRONMENT: Nicholas is a major donor to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California.