NET WORTH: $4.1 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder of Electronic Data Systems, Founder of Perot Systems
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Veterans, Arts and Culture, Texas Community
OVERVIEW: Ross Perot started the Perot Foundation in 1969. Since then, the foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to a number of causes, primarily in Texas. He's a strong advocate of education, and is one of the first public figures in Texas to link education and economic viability.
BACKGROUND: Ross Perot Sr. grew up in Texas, where he was an Eagle Scout and attended junior college before joining the Navy. He went on to work at IBM, leaving to start his own computer firm, Electronic Data Systems Leasing Corporation (EDS), which specialized in data processing systems and services. In 1984, General Motors bought a controlling interest in EDS for $2.5 billion. He later started Perot Systems, another computer services company, where he repeated the same formula that had made EDS successful. Perot also ran for president in 1992 and 1996.
TEXAS COMMUNITY: Though Perot is active in many philanthropic areas including arts and culture, health, and education, the vast majority of his giving backs organizations that operate in and benefit the Texas community. His major donations include:
- $20 million to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to create the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and the Center for Targeted Therapy, speeding up genome mapping research to develop better and more personalized cancer treatments
- $15 million toward a new symphony hall for the city of Dallas
- Millions to his church, Highland Memorial Presbyterian
- Large donations to Texas schools, and financing a campaign to improve several of the state's school districts
- $50 million to create the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, a children's museum that the Wall Street Journal has referred to as "(a) Disney World for the mind" based on its interactive exhibits, its architecture, and its reasonable admission prices
- $1 milion to the Episcopal School of Dallas.
- $1 million to the Dallas Symphony Association
- $1 million to Planned Parenthood in response to the Texas legislature's decision to transition away from funding the organization
- Tens of millions of dollars to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, supporting Nobel Prize-winning research
OTHER: The Perot Foundation also gives out smaller grants, and has distributed tens of millions to hundreds of charities in a wide variety of fields, including healthcare, anti-poverty programs, and education charities, in amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to several million.
P.O. Box 269014
Plano, TX 75026