NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Herjavec Group
FUNDING AREAS: Health, Homelessness
OVERVIEW: Herjavec tends to be pretty quiet about his finances, so it’s not surprising that not much is known about his philanthropy either. What is known is that he’s played in several charity golf tournaments, twice hosted a fundraiser for cancer research charity the Princess Margaret Foundation, and lists in his bio that he donates to several cancer research organizations. He is currently the CEO of the Herjavec Group, and an investor in small businesses through the hit TV show Shark Tank.
BACKGROUND: Herjavec emigrated from Croatia to Canada with his parents when he was 8 years old, arriving with nothing more than a single suitcase and $20. He attended the University of Toronto, majoring in English literature and political science, and had a brief career as a film producer and director before getting into the tech business.
Looking for work in between productions, Herjevac applied for a position at Logiquest selling IBM mainframe emulation boards. He was under-qualified for the position, but managed to talk his way into a job by offering to work for free for six months. During this time, he worked as a waiter to pay the bills, but eventually moved up the ranks to become general manager.
Learning much about the tech industry while at Logiquest, Herjavec left in 1990 to found BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software, which he sold to AT&T Canada in 2000. After a three-year retirement during which he was a stay-at-home dad, he founded the Herjavec Group in 2003, which provides integrated security.
PHILOSOPHY: “I came to North America when I was eight years old on a boat with my mom and dad and one suitcase. We lived in a village where all the floors were dirt. I don’t know how you could come from that background and not have empathy for people,” Robert said in an interview with Leaders Magazine. “I’m not a product just of myself; I’m a product of those who were kind enough to guide me along the way. And that’s a service you owe to others – sometimes it’s in the form of money, sometimes it’s your time, but you have to be a guide for others.”
HEALTH: Herjavec has supported several charities dedicated to funding cancer research and other health-related causes. In addition to the balls he threw for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, there was a donation of between $50,000-$100,000 to the Hamilton Health Sciences Group in 2012.
HOMELESSNESS: It was reported that in 2014, Herjavec, in a suicidal state after his marriage of 25 years fell apart, sought help from his pastor, John McAuley. McAuley steered him to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, a homeless shelter that provides care and recovery services for those struggling with addiction. Herjavec spent some time volunteering in the soup kitchen there and reportedly bought and distributed 100,000 pairs of socks to the homeless. Later that year, Herjavec wrote about his experience, encouraging others to support initiatives like these.