Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, surprised the philanthropy community last year with his tight-lipped end to biomedical giving. Although the Ellison Medical Foundation is shutting down, it seems Larry Ellison hasn’t given up on philanthropy. Instead, he’s shifting focus to put funds into new pursuits, and it looks like wildlife and conservation issues have caught his eye.
The Thiel Fellowship program has been one of the most widely criticized bits of philanthropy in the last several years, but there are a number of Thiel Fellows working on projects that may have some major social benefits, particularly in health and education.
By most accounts, the patent system is a disaster. A murky and litigious chess game of corporations secretly jockeying and hoarding to control intellectual property from science and tech research. A mostly unknown Australian project seeks to change that game, and big funders like Gates and Moore are on board.
Symphonies in many cities have experienced serious financial problems over the years, most especially during the recent economic downturn. But thanks to Irwin and Joan Jacobs, the San Diego Symphony is having its best times in many years. The symphony is approving new contracts with its musicians and even giving them small raises.
It is not a stretch to say that James Goodnight, the CEO of tech giant SAS, believes in the power of education. Goodnight points to education as the key to long-term economic growth is education, and hopes that upgrading the nation's educational system through technology will improve teaching, learning, and administration.
One of the highest-profile donations in the fight for marriage equslity was the $2.5 million check written by Seattle-based Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie last year. The donation was in support of Washington United for Marriage, the group that funded Referendum 74.
Philanthropist and entrepreneur Ann Wojcicki wants you to get to know yourself better. Often known mainly as the wife of founder Sergey Brin, Wojcicki is also quite the philanthropist and entrepreneur in her own right. She is the brainchild behind 23andMe, which is something of a hybrid company, combining healthcare philanthropy with capitalism.