Henry T. Nicholas III: Tech Grants

NET WORTH: $3.6 billion


FUNDING AREAS: Education, Episcopal Church, Victim's Rights, Veterans, Human Services

OVERVIEW: Nicholas's most influential work has been in education and victim's rights, but he has a broad range of philanthropic interests. Education is one major focus of the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation. Supporting the Episcopal Church is another.

BACKGROUND: Henry T. Nicholas III  graduated with a BSEE from UCLA in 1982, after attending the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nicholas earned a master's degree in 1985 and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 1998. He went on to co-found Broadcom. 


EDUCATION: Nicholas has supported University of California Irvine's school of electrical engineering. This followed a pattern of huge financial support for UC Irvine over the years, including the school's engineering and computer science programs, as well as the UCI Center for Pervasive Communications. He also established the Nicholas Prize for collaborative research. UCLA’s School of Engineering has also received support through the Nicholas Endowment grants, and supported the UCLA Astronomy Department’s planetarium.

Nicholas' commitment to education has also resulted in the creation of the Nicholas Academic Centers, to which he has committed $10 million over 20 years. The organization provides academic support for promising students and has provided scholarships to hundreds of students to attend some of the most prestigious universities across the nation. Other donations to educational institutions have included $10 million to St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in Orange County, in part to provide scholarships for promising students from Santa Ana, support to the Oakland Military Institute, and a donation to create a new wing at the Mt. Olive School in Kenya, which provides education for teenage girls. 

EPISCOPAL CHURCH: Nicholas' philanthropy is strongly influenced by his deep religious faith. Through his foundation, he has been a strong supporter of Episcopal community causes, as well as Habitat for Humanity. Recently, Nicholas helped build Gordon's House, which was named for Episcopal priest Gordon Yeaton, who had been a Habitat for Humanity board member before he passed away in 2007. 

The foundation also partnered with Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to create Chefs Center of California, a small-business incubator in Pasadena, California, that enables culinary entrepreneurs to start businesses and accelerate their growth.  The Foundation also supports Mama’s Hot Tamales Café, another partnership with the Episcopal Diocese. 

VETERANS: The Foundation works with Habitat for Humanity on several initiatives, including its "Homes for Heroes" program to build homes in Orange County for disabled veterans and surviving families of veterans who gave their lives in service.

VICTIM'S RIGHTS: Nicholas helped found the nonprofit organization Justice for Homicide Victims, Inc. to support the families of murder victims. He subsequently put a lot of time and money into campaigning for Marsy's Law, a crime victim's bill of rights named for his sister, who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend in 1983, and has been the inspiration for Nicholas's philanthropy in this area. The bill was passed into law in 2008.

ENVIRONMENT: Nicholas is a major donor to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California.