Bob Parsons is often known for his shameless and gregarious self-promotion, both for himself and for his domain and hosting company, GoDaddy. But for several years now, Parsons, the founder and CEO of the company, has been shining his philanthropic light on the people of Haiti, and there are signs that it's starting to pay off in a big way.
As a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Vinod Khosla's philanthropy takes on the same sort of character as his career. He strongly believes that an investment approach is the best way to help alleviate massive poverty. It's the old "teach a man to fish" model.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gathered together a number of prominent Silicon Valley tech titans to create a new advocacy group. As Zuckerberg envisions it, the group would focus on issues such as immigration, education reform, the environment, and alternative energy.
When Michael Dell dropped out of the University of Texas to build computers back in 1984, he probably wasn't given much of a chance by many of his peers. But the fact of the matter is, he's done pretty well for himself. At last count, his net worth is $14.7 billion.
Though currently under fire in his position on Hewlett-Packard's Board of Directors, the news isn't all bad for Marc Andreessen, as he's received recognition from the Queen of England for his monumental role in helping to create the Internet.
One of Worldreader's biggest donors to date is Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who this past January made a pledge in the amount of $500,000. His gift will go a long toward boosting existing e-reader programs in countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as supporting a new e-reader program in South Africa.
Google.org is the tech giant's philanthropic arm. And one of its largest projects is a service for tracking pandemics as they spread around the United States and the world. One day, Page was looking at Google's flu-tracking service, and he didn't like what he saw. So, he and his wife Lucy decided they would simply pay for free flu shots for children throughout the entire Bay Area. And that's how the Shoo the Flu program was born.
Billions have been earned in the tech sector, and thankfully, it seems that its 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.
The namesake of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is in the mood for celebration, because his foundation has surpassed a challenge to raise $50 million over the past two years.
A new project led by the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) brings together a team of tech giants — including Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google founder Sergey Brin, and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos — to create a mobile phone game that could lead to a cure for cancer.
Believing that computer programming, or coding, is the current embodiment of the American Dream, Brothers Hadi and Ali Partovi are trying to bring coding to the masses with their new computer science-education nonprofit, Code.org, which they have introduced via a ten-minute video. The video features some very high-profile computer programmers, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey — all of whom have a hand in moving Code.org forward.
Paul Allen simply doesn't like to be outdone, and that tendency apparently extends beyond the tech world and into his philanthropic pursuits. Just a few days after some of the tech industry's biggest names announced the creation of the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen made an announcement of his own.
Some of the biggest names in the tech industry recently came together to announce the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a competition for the biology research community that rewards researchers who develop cures for "intractable diseases" and who can manage to "extend human life" with a $3 million grant. The Prize's founders have visions of making the Breakthrough Prize as important as the Nobel prizes.
Apple may take over as sponsor for the Orange Prize For Fiction, according to The Sunday Telegraph. A French telecommunications company called Orange initially sponsored the prize, but announced its intention to pull its funding for it a few months ago. Since then, organizers of the award have opened negotiations with a number of other possible sponsors. Out of the several offers on the table, "discussions with Apple were the most advanced."
Here's a name you may hear often as a new golden age of philanthropy unfolds in coming decades: Cari Tuna. Cari who, you ask? Right, I don't recall ever hearing of a billionaire or big shot entrepreneur named Cari Tuna, either. That's because Cari Tuna didn't make the multi-billion dollar fortune she'll play a pivotal role in giving away. She's marrying it, as the fiance of Dustin Moskovitz, the Facebook co-founder who still has a reported 7.6% stake in the company.
Peter Thiel likes to complain that science has under-delivered. "We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters," Thiel has said. He wants to fund bigger breakthroughs as an investor — through his Founders Fund — but also as a philanthropist. So it is that the Thiel Foundation has a program called "Breakout Labs," which supports innovators working "at the forefront of science and technology" who have "radical ideas."
The most controversial figure to profit from Facebook's IPO last month was Peter Thiel, already rich from founding PayPal. Thiel was the first outside investor in Facebook and looks likely to make at least a cool $1.5 billion from his 2.5% stake.
We never got to see what Steve Jobs would do to better measure philanthropic results. But with his passing, Jobs left his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, a $7 billion dollar trust. That leaves her the richest woman in Silicon Valley, and potentially one of the most influential philanthropists in the world. Laurene Jobs, like her husband, is an intensely private person who rarely agrees to interviews or public appearances. But with an MBA from Stanford, she is no lightweight.
What is it about billionaires and the brain? Unravelling the secrets of neuroscience has emerged as a major focus of a number of wealthy givers and, a few months ago, Jeff Bezos joined this crowd. Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, pledged $15 million last December to Princeton University to establish the Bezos Center for Neural Circuit Dynamics in the university's Neuroscience Institute.