New Billionaire Watch: Three Things To Know About Bob Duggan's Philanthropy

Yes, it's true: We're a bit obsessed with billionaires at Inside Philanthropy, especially billionaires you've never heard of. And why is that? Because it's pretty hard for billionaires to spend all their money on themselves, and while many of these fortunes will be passed down to heirs, a good number of billionaires will eventually turn to philanthropy at a significant level. Indeed, more do so every year, and often, giving today is merely a prelude to bigger things in the future. 

That's why it pays to get bead on these billionaires now, especially newcomers to great wealth who are already showing an interest in philanthropy. 

A case in point is venture capitalist Robert "Bob" Duggan, who recently joined the ranks of the Forbes billionaire list as the former CEO of cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics, which has enjoyed enormous success with its drug Imbruvica. Duggan's career has been marked by smart bets in tech and beyond, and he's served as CEO of Computer Motion and Metropolis Media, among others. He's now worth over $3 billion.

Duggan and his wife Patricia have also been engaged in philanthropy, particularly at their alma mater, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and recently came to our attention when he joined a group of funders supporting a Forbes initiative to identify and support social entrepreneurs around the world. 

Related: These Power Players Just Joined Forces to Cultivate Next-Gen Change Makers

We wondered: What else is Duggan interested in?

Well, for starters, he and wife do have a philanthropic vehicle, the Bob and Trish Duggan Foundation, though the outfit seems to be newly founded, and is not yet a conduit for much money that we can see. Here's what else you need to know about the couple's philanthropy:

1. UCSB is Strongly Supported

Both Duggan and Patricia attended UCSB, where they met. Duggan has served on the board of trustees of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation since 1989. It's unclear exactly how much money the couple has given the school over the years, but UCSB is the site of, among other things, the Robert and Patricia Duggan Chair in Organic Chemistry Chemistry. The couple has also supported athletic scholarships, and supported the creation of a Tibetan Buddhist chair. Additionally, the family funded a dedicated room with 5,000 Buddhist sutras at the UCSB library.

2. The Couple Also Supports Health

The Duggans have supported the Foundation for a Drug Free World, a group established by the Church of Scientology, which provides "youths and adults with information so they can make informed decisions and live free of harmful drugs." It's worth noting that the Duggans' son died of brain cancer.

3. Duggan is a Top Backer of Scientology

Duggan has given the Church of Scientology, of which he is a member, some $20 million over the years, making him the church’s largest financial supporter as of 2013, according to Mark Rathbun, former inspector general of Scientology. To the extent that Duggan is well known, it's because of his connection to this controversial church. 


It's worth noting that Duggan is 71, and appears only recently to have created a proper charitable vehicle. But now that he's become a billionaire, the couple may increase their giving down the line.

Related: Bob Duggan Profile