Meg Whitman and Griffith Harsh

NET WORTH: $3.1 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Hewlett-Packard, eBay

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Environment, Health

OVERVIEW: In 2006, Meg Whitman and her husband Griffith established the Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation with 300,000 shares of eBay stock, which were valued at just under $10 million at the time. 

BACKGROUND: Meg Whitman grew up on Long Island, and attended Princeton University and Harvard Business School. She has worked as an executive at a number of major corporations, including Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Procter & Gamble and Hasbro, though her tenure as the President and CEO of eBay probably had the most significant impact on her personal wealth. In 2008, she stepped down to run for Governor of California, winning the Republican nomination, but failing to defeat Jerry Brown. She is currently the CEO of Hewlett Packard, a position she took in 2011.

ISSUES:

ENVIRONMENT: A few years ago, Whitman gave $1.15 million to a campaign to protect 572 acres of pristine land from development into condos and a golf course near Telluride, Colorado.  Back in 2010, she and Griffith purchased an additional 800 acres in the area, rescuing the land from a real estate developer that had planned to create a community of luxury homes, and has said she has no plans to develop the property. In 2015, Whitman joined a pool of investors in backing Bill Gates' new Breakthrough Energy Coalition, an organization looking to develop affordable methods of being sustainable. The couple has also given to the Environmental Defense Fund. 

EDUCATION: In 2002, Whitman donated $30 million to Princeton University, her alma mater, to establish Whitman College, a new residential college. She also served on the university's board of trustees for a time. Other grantees have included Teach for America (Whitman sits on the board), Summit Public Schools, and Rhodes Trust. Griffith was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. 

HEALTH: Grantees have included MIND Research Institute, ALS Association, and Pancreatic Action Network. It's worth noting that Griffith is a neurosurgeon. 

COMMUNITY GIVING: Each year, a handful of smaller grants, generally in the $1,000 to $25,000 range, generally go to community organizations in Menlo Park, CA and Telluride, CO, where the Whitmans reside.  

LOOKING FORWARD: Perhaps Whitman will take buying land near her home to protect it from development a step further and actually donate the land to a nature conservancy or land trust. There are also some indications that Whitman may start to become more involved in funding charter schools. 

CONTACT:

  • Griffith R. Harsh IV and Margaret C Whitman Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 860, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-0860, 518-886-4207. Administered by the Ayco Company.