Billions have been earned in the tech sector, and thankfully, it seems that the industry's increasing share of billionaires are not cheapskates. Because of this, the tech sector is quickly becoming well known for its philanthropy, according to the latest list of big donors for 2012 released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy earlier this year.
The tech sector's charitable wave was led by the donation of 18 million shares of Facebook stock by the company's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (read Zuckerberg's IP profile) and his wife, Priscilla Chan (read Chan's IP profile). The couple handed over the shares in December 2012 to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and at the time of the donation, those shares were worth $498.8 million when the stock was trading at around $27 per share. After some ebbs and waves, Facebook is trading around $45 per share, making that 18 million in donated stock worth approximately $810 million.
You don't have to go far down the list to find another generous Bay Area tech titan, as Paul Allen came in at No. 4 for donating a total of $309 million — including $300 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science, $8 million to his music-oriented EMP Museum, and $1.1 million to fund the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Ambassadors for Humanity, the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation, and the Robin Hood Relief Fund (read Paul Allen's IP profile).
Just below Allen, at No. 5, are Google cofounder Sergey Brin (read Brin's IP profile) and his wife, Anne Wojcicki (read Wojcicki's IP profile), who donated $222.9 million to charity. The couple gave their Brin Wojcicki Foundation $190 million to support multiple causes, including "education, environment, women's issues, and many other causes; the Human Rights Foundation; and Tipping Point Community, a nonprofit that seeks to eliminate poverty in Northern California." They also gave $32.8 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
At No. 29, Larry Ellison's placement may seem surprising to some people, given his lavish purchases of yachts and islands in recent years. But he donated approximately $45.6 million to his Ellison Medical Foundation to support biomedical research. The foundation awarded 70 new grants and gave more than $46.5 million last year.
As the tech sector is maturing and its wealth is increasing — at times exponentially — it's becoming obvious that its philanthropic side is starting to grow. We should expect to see big things philanthropically from this sector in the future.