NET WORTH: $1.63 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Broadcast.com
FUNDING AREAS: Youth, Education, Nonprofit Fundraising, Dallas Community
OVERVIEW: Todd Wagner does his grantmaking through the Todd Wagner Foundation. The foundation has committed tens of millions of dollars to programs for disadvantaged youth and those that address global issues affecting youth and the environment.
BACKGROUND: Todd Wagner attended the University of Indiana and the University of Virginia Law School before moving to Dallas to become a CPA at a law firm. It was not long, however, until he joined with fellow Indiana alum Mark Cuban to found Audionet, the first company to broadcast live sports events over the internet. Eventually, they renamed it Broadcast.com, and in 1998, they took the company public, setting an IPO record, with shares climbing 249 percent. In 1999, they sold the company to Yahoo! for $5.7 billion, making both of them instant billionaires. Along with Cuban, Wagner now has an ownership stake in several entertainment companies, including 2929 Entertainment, Landmark Theatres, Magnolia Pictures and HDNet.
DALLAS COMMUNITY: Most of the grants made by Wagner stays in the Dallas community and goes to education and other youth programs. He is the founder of the Dallas chapter of the After-School All-Stars, which provides educational programs and recreational activities for at-risk youth. He is also a frequent donor to the local chapters of the Boys and Girls Club and KIPP. However, Wagner occasionally donates outside the community, including a seven-figure grant to Carollwood day School in Florida toward the construction of an athletic complex. He has also supported The First Tee, a nonprofit that brings "golf to young people who otherwise would not be exposed to the game and its positive values."
NONPROFIT FUNDRAISING: Wagner has pumped tens of millions into his latest project, Chideo, which is not a nonprofit, but helps nonprofits raise money. Chideo is a video platform where fans sign up and follow sports stars, celebrities, and other well-known figures for free. The user base votes on which videos they want to see, and when a suggestion gets enough votes, the celebrity creates it. Users then pay to see the video, and the fee goes to the charity of the celebrity’s choice. No word yet on how much money has been raised through the platform, but it is part of a growing trend among philanthropists using their resources to encourage others to give. Wagner also recently acquired celebrity fundraising platform Prizeo, as well as online charity auction platform Charity Buzz.
LOOKING FORWARD: Wagner’s grantmaking is mostly local, he tends to work with large organizations located in Dallas, or with organizations that are developing branches or chapters in the Dallas area, particularly if those organizations prioritize youth and education. But the Chideo project may suggest a broadening of his philanthropic interests, so grant seekers will have to stay tuned and see if any of the celebrities he has recruited for his project support causes that resonate with Wagner and capture his attention.