NET WORTH: $3 billion
FUNDING AREAS: Veterans, Cancer Research, Patent Law Reform, Disaster Relief, Education
OVERVIEW: Mark Cuban has been an outspoken supporter of veterans and their families, and has also donated to causes such as cancer research and patent law reform, but his public giving record is pretty thin compared to others with similar fortunes. This may be because he tends to keep it pretty quiet, and doesn’t run most of his contributions through his foundation.
BACKGROUND: While Mark Cuban is probably best known as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and more recently as an investor on the TV series Shark Tank, he actually got his start in the tech industry. Growing up in Pittsburgh and attending the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Cuban had several entrepreneurial ventures during his school years. Moving to Dallas after he graduated college, Cuban got a job at Your Business Software, one of the first PC resellers in the area. He was fired in less than a year for meeting with a client to procure new business instead of opening the store, but it was enough for him to realize that the rapidly expanding computer market had enormous potential, and led him to start his own company, MicroSolutions, with support from his previous customers. He eventually sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe for $6 million.
If Cuban scored with Microsolutions, then his next company was a slam-dunk. Initially called Audionet, the company started out webcasting Hoosier basketball games. Cuban and his partner Todd Wagner essentially invented streaming video, and the company, which was renamed Broadcast.com, was acquired by Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock. From there, Cuban diversified his portfolio, and now owns the Landmark Threatre Chain and Magnolia Productions, along with investments in many other businesses.
PHILOSOPHY: In response to Donald Trump’s offer to donate $5 million to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama released his college transcripts and passport applications, Cuban offered to donate $1 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if Trump would shave his head. Cuban donatec $30,000 to the charity CyberSmile, and $100,000 to the iBelieve Foundation—which raises money for Hunter Syndrome.
VETERANS: In 2003, Cuban founded the Fallen Patriot Fund to help families of U.S. military personnel killed or injured during the Iraq War. The fund has given out slightly over $5 million in grants. The majority of that money has come directly from Cuban, but the fund also encourages donations from others. When the fund was launched, Cuban announced he would personally match the first $1 million in donations, though the amount donated from third parties is unknown.
HEALTH: One of the few donations on record that Cuban made outside the Fallen Patriot Fund was a $75,000 donation to 1 Million for Anna, a foundation that fights Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of childhood cancer.
PATENT LAW REFORM: In December 2012, Cuban donated $250,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which confronts cutting-edge issues in defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights, and champions the public interest in critical battles affecting digital rights. The donation, he said, was to "eliminate stupid patents," and assist with their legal efforts to reform the patent system.
DISASTER RELIEF: In the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, Cuban announced a pledge of $1 million to help disaster relief and rebuilding efforts. Prior to this announcement, he’d already given $7,500 to the Food Bank of NYC to help them through the disaster.
EDUCATION: Cuban once donated a $50,000 car and season tickets to the Mavericks for a raffle to raise money for the Dallas Can Academy, a charter school fit for students who struggle with the traditional school system. In 2015, Cuban donated $5 million to Indiana University, his alma mater, in order to create the Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media and Technology. He has also supported the Hockaday School in Dallas.
LOOKING FORWARD: In 2013, the Mark Cuban Foundation gave out around $100,000 and held around $27 million in assets, up from a few years prior. Much of Cuban's giving appears to be done outside his foundation though, as evidenced from some of the other donations he’s made. But his entrepreneurial spirit, and his love of sports and entertainment point to a number of possible outlets for Cuban’s charity in the future.