Jerry Yang


SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder of Yahoo

NET WORTH: $2.2 billion

IP TAKE: Thus far, Jerry Yang's giving has been limited to a few large grants to educational institutions, primarily his alma mater, Stanford. But he's still quite young.

PROFILE: Jerry Yang was born in Taiwan, his father died when he was two, and he came to California with his mother when he was 10. In 1994, while he was a doctoral student at Stanford, Yang and David Filo came up with the  "Jerry and Dave's Guide to the World Wide Web," which became Yahoo! in 1995. In 2016, Verizon bought Yahoo in a $5 billion deal.

People may forget this now, but at one time Jerry Yang was the toast of Silicon Valley. Yahoo was the first search engine to catch people's attention, and Yang guided it through the rocky terrain of the original tech bubble as it burst. Over time, he fell from his perch as one of the architects of the World Wide Web. Yang was ousted as Yahoo CEO a year after Microsoft offered to buy the company for $45 billion, and in January 2012 he resigned from the Yahoo board. 

Yang and his wife Akiko Yamazaki have been very active philanthropists. Their largest contribution to date has been a $75 million gift to Yang's alma mater, Stanford, where he is a trustee. At least $50 million of the gift was designated for the construction of the new Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, which has come to be known on campus as Y2E2 and serves as the university's center for environmental studies.

This was not Yang's first foray into philanthropic support for Stanford. Back in 1997, he and David Filo became the youngest people to ever endow a chair at the university. Their $2 million gift created the Yahoo! Founders Professorship at the Engineering School, which focused on information technology. Filo and Yang continued to give to various causes through the Yahoo Employee Foundation, recently pledging to donate $1 million to the foundation if 60% employee participation in its activities was reached. Participation hit 61%, and both Yang and Filo kept good on their promise.

Yang and his wife are patrons of the arts and have donated more than $2 million to the San Francisco Ballet and $3 million to Stanford's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. Yang also serves on the board of the Asian Pacific Fund, which provides financial support, including scholarships and education programs, to help Bay Area Asian Americans.

LOOKING FORWARD: Jerry Yang has shown a growing interest in the virtual reality space.


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