NET WORTH: $1 billion, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Sun Microsystems
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Health, Bay Area Community
OVERVIEW: Scott McNealy has used the open source philosophy he embraced at Sun Microsystems to tackle education, specifically by providing free online educational materials through a nonprofit he founded called Curriki, which is where he directs most of his charitable donations. His family foundation does support a variety of Bay Area organizations, and a few outside the Bay Area that focus on health or education.
BACKGROUND: Scott McNealy was born in Indiana and grew up in Michigan, where his father was Vice Chairman of the American Motors Corporation. McNealy received a bachelor’s in economics from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford, and was working as the manufacturing director of Onyx Systems when he was approached by fellow Stanford alumnus Vinod Khosla and became a cofounder of Sun Microsystems. He started out briefly as VP of Operations before taking over as President and COO, and then President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. He served as CEO until 2006, and remained Chairman of the Board until 2010, when Sun was acquired by Oracle for $7.4 billion, and McNealy was left without a job. In 2011 he co-founded Wayin, a platform that allows companies to capture, curate and display what people are saying about them on social media sites.
EDUCATION: Applying open source principles that he learned from Sun Microsystems to education, McNealy has made it his mission to replace traditional textbooks with free online materials. His organization, called Curriki, was founded in 2004, and now boasts 10 million unique visitors.
It’s hard to say exactly how much he’s contributed to this project financially, but his foundation made a $500,000 grant in 2008, added nearly $2 million in 2009, and made another $3 million commitment later on. McNealy wants to borrow from Sun’s software development systems to create an organized framework for collecting educational information in order to build systems that can evaluate educational material and monitor student performance. In addition, he wants to develop materials that make learning more interactive and fun.
Aside from his work with Curriki and contributions to his alma maters, he donated to educational organizations in the Bay Area, schools near his childhood home, and one charter school in Massachusetts.
HEALTH: The McNealys have donated to places like Prostate Cancer Research and The Heart Foundation.
BAY AREA COMMUNITY: The couple have supported a variety of organizations in the Bay Area community, including contributions to the local Boys & Girls Club, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, and a couple of museums.
LOOKING FORWARD: McNealy has been seeking both private and public funding to support the creation of additional curricula and tools for Curriki, but has said that finding support has been difficult.
The Bunker Foundation
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