NET WORTH: $34.4 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder of Google
FUNDING AREAS: Global poverty, Parkinson's disease, Education, Jewish issues, Bay area community, Social entrepreneurship, Research and Technology
OVERVIEW: Sergey Brin and his ex-wife, Anne Wojcicki, serve as codirectors of the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, which held over a billion dollars in assets in a recent year. The foundation doesn't have a website. Brin and Wojcicki have appeared on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of the 50 most generous philanthropists. Their status as top philanthropists is due largely, but not solely, to their donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
PHILOSOPHY: Brin is one of the founders of Google, and has expressed an interest in leaving a legacy that goes well beyond that company. In an interview with the Academy of Achievement, he said:
In terms of being remembered, I think I want to make the world a better place. That's a pretty generic answer, but I mean it in several ways. One is through Google, the company, in terms of giving people access to information. I'm sure I will do other endeavors in terms of technologies and businesses. The second is just through philanthropy. I don't have a significant amount of wealth beyond that on paper right now, but I hope that I have the opportunity to direct resources to the right places. I think that is the most important thing to me. I don't think my quality of life is really going to improve that much with more money.
Brin's philanthropic activities still largely reflect that spirit. Over the years, he has overseen huge donations to a variety of causes, including Parkinson's research, space exploration, the support of Jewish immigrants, and anti-poverty programs.
PARKINSON'S RESEARCH: In the past three years, the Brin Wojcicki Foundation has donated at least $160 million to Parkinson's research, much of which has gone to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Brin has written about his personal dealings with Parkinson's--a disease which afflicted both his mother and great aunt. This experience seems to drive much of his philanthropic passion, especially the research done by 23andme co-founded by his wife.
RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY: In the fall of 2013, Brin and Anne, along with Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Art Levinson, and Yuri Milner, announced the creation of the Breakthrough Prize, a $3 million prize awarded to one physics project and six life sciences projects annually, for a total of $21 million a year. For more information, see the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Fundamental Physics Prize.
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Brin is a strong supporter of Ashoka, a group that brings together entrepreneurs to produce innovative solutions to problems relating to a wide variety of social issues, such as women's issues, education, and the environment.
JEWISH CAUSES: When Brin came with his family to the United States to escape anti-semitism, he received help from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). He later returned the favor with a $1 million donation to the organization. Brin has sat on the HIAS board and also set up a blog on the site, called My Story, to encourage immigrants to share their experiences.
BAY AREA COMMUNITY: The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has provided significant support to the Tipping Point Community, which is trying to eliminate poverty in the bay area, as well as smaller donations to other groups working to conquer poverty and hunger. Among these groups are Meals on Wheels San Francisco, the Boy's and Girl's Clubs of the peninsula, and a number of homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the area.
EDUCATION: Brin has given to Citizen Schools, an organization that works to expand the school day for middle school students living in poverty, as well as BUILD, a four-year program that uses entrepreneurship to motivate low-income students through high school and on to college. Brin has also supported the Wikimedia foundation, the nonprofit group in charge of operating Wikipedia.
- Brin Wojcicki Foundation, 1801 Page Mill Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94304, 650-210-5000