NET WORTH: NA
SOURCE of WEALTH: Cisco Systems
FUNDING AREAS: Animal Welfare, Art & Culture, Space exploration, Education
OVERVIEW: When Bosack and his now ex-wife walked away from Cisco, they were compensated with $170 million in stock, which they used to create the Bosack/Kruger Foundation, endowing it with $34 million. Overall, they have donated more than 70% of the wealth they made from Cisco to charitable causes, and focus mainly on animal welfare. Though Bosack and Lerner are now divorced, they still remain close friends, and it is evident that Lerner is largely responsible for decisions regarding charitable giving.
BACKGROUND: Bosack grew up near Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for his undergrad before heading to Stanford to study computer science. It was in the Stanford Business School lab that Bosack met his future--and now ex--wife and business partner, Sandy Lerner, with whom he cofounded Cisco Systems. After the company went public, Lerner was eventually forced out, causing Bosack to resign in protest. The $170 million they received may seem small for a company valued at over $6 billion just a few years after they left; it would have been more if they’d held on to their stock options for a few more years.
ANIMAL WELFARE: It seems that Bosack’s contributions in animal welfare stem from Lerner’s passion, but it is nevertheless his money going to these organizations as well as hers. Grantees include a variety of organizations working on animal welfare and rights issues, such as Born Free USA, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Austin Zoo, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, NC Veterinary Medical Foundation, WildEarth Guardians, the African Elephant Conservation Trust, and SPAY/USA. Aside from David Duffield’s Maddie’s Fund, they have been some of the largest contributors in this space. They also fund academic research, such as The Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington. Steady sums have also gone to Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, largely towards a veterinary clinical center.
EDUCATION: Lerner and Bosack have made contributions to numerous educational institutions. In addition to contributions to their alma maters, they’ve made grants to Harvard, Tufts, University of Washington, University of California, and others, mostly in support of conservation research, though also for other technology-based applications.
SPACE EXPLORATION: Lerner has purportedly given support to SETI, a project that searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.
ARTS & CULTURE: Bosack and Lerner have put at least $7 million toward the creation of the Chawton House Library, funding the purchase of an English manor that once belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, and turning it into a research center for 18th and 19th century women writers.
LOOKING FORWARD: It is clear that Bosack’s technical skill was a large part of Cisco’s success, so it’s not a stretch to imagine him amassing another fortune through XKL, a privately funded engineering company that develops optical networks for data communications, where he is currently CEO. So while his philanthropy may be slowing down, largely because he’s already given away most of the wealth he made from Cisco to charity, he’s one of the guys you should be rooting for to strike it rich again.
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