NET WORTH: $785 million
SOURCE OF WEALTH: CEO of Apple Computers
FUNDING AREAS: Global poverty, health, and human rights
OVERVIEW: One of the first tasks Cook accomplished after being appointed CEO of Apple was to institute a charitable giving program. Cook's personal philanthropy can presumably be seen as closely aligned with Apple's, though on a more personal level, his record has been rather lean.
BACKGROUND: After earning a bachelor's in industrial engineering and an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business, Tim Cook set out into the tech world by taking a job at IBM, where he would stay put for more than a decade. Following a short stint at Compaq, Cook was offered a job at Apple in 1998. At the time, Apple was not the tech darling of the world, it was even hemorrhaging money.
A year before Cook accepted the position, Apple reported a $1 billion net loss. Even those in the tech world were trying to dissuade Cook from accepting a position at what appeared to be a sinking ship. Dell Computers founder Michael Dell reportedly stated that in his opinion, the only way to turn Apple around was to "…shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." Cook accepted the position as chief operating officer.
Apple began posting significant back-to-back quarterly earnings. When Steve Jobs died in 2011 after a long bout with cancer, Tim Cook was appointed the company's new leader, taking his seat as the CEO.
APPLE CHARITABLE MATCHING PROGRAM: Cook decided to put philanthropy on his agenda. Within weeks of taking the CEO position, Cook introduced Apple's charitable matching program, which matches employee contributions up to $10,000. Since the program's inception, it has donated more than $150 million to organizations such as Charity: Water, (Product RED), and Stanford University Hospitals, with Cook himself having donated $50 million a piece to each of the latter two. Since Cook took power, the company has also purchased thousands of acres of forest for philanthropy work, raised $20 million to fight AIDS in Africa, and donated $50 million to various nonprofits that promote diversity in the tech industry.
HUMAN RIGHTS: Cook's participated in an auction where the winning bidder received 30 to 60 minutes of one-on-one time with him, raising $610,000 for the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, and other charities.
LOOKING FORWARD: Cook's record for giving has been pretty sparse thus far, but just because he doesn't boast about his charitable giving, it doesn't mean he fails to participate in donating to worthy causes. He has shown a strong interest in LGBT issues since coming out in 2014, and has also proven to be a passionate environmentalist, pledging that Apple will get 100% of its power supply from renewable energy sources. Having stated that he plans to give away most of his fortune during the course of his life, it will be interesting to see just where he puts his focus. After all, it could be that he's just taking a page from Steve Jobs's book and keeping his charitable activities private, and low-key.
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