NET WORTH: $1.5 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Pacific Investment Management Co.
FUNDING AREAS: Health, global development, education, arts and culture, and Southern California
OVERVIEW: Bill Gross's primary interest is in health, although he has made significant gifts in other areas as well. He is rather selective about the organizations he supports, preferring to make significant contributions to a few major institutions than to spread his giving out among a lot of different organizations.
BACKGROUND: Bill Gross was born in Ohio, spent much of his childhood in San Francisco, and now lives in Southern California. He did his undergrad at Duke before joining the Navy and then getting an MBA at UCLA. From there, he went to Pacific Mutual Life and then cofounded Pacific Investment Management, where he managed what has become the world's largest bond fund. He also has written a couple of popular books on investing. In the fall of 2014, Gross left Pacific Investment Management to join Janus Capital Group.
HEALTH: The bulk of Gross's giving so far has gone toward capital campaigns for medical centers. Gross is rather choosy about the organizations he supports, but when he decides to back an organization, he generally makes very substantial contributions. For example, he and his wife, Sue, made a $20 million donation to the Hoag Hospital Foundation near their home in Orange County, California, to support its Women's Pavilion. They also gave $20 million to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles for the new Sue and Bill Gross Surgery and Procedure Center. On a smaller scale, the Grosses support a number of other health organizations close to home, such as Radiant Health Centers, formerly AIDS Services Foundation, in Orange County.
In addition to funding health organizations in Southern California, Gross is a major supporter of international health organizations. He and his wife are the single largest donor to Doctors Without Borders, contributing approximately $25 million over the years. They have also given $20 million to Mercy Ships to build a second floating hospital. This state-of-the-art mobile facility is able to provide large numbers of people in underserved areas with free health care, community development and health education, mental health programs, agriculture projects, and palliative care. To start 2016, Gross donated $40 million to the UCI to rename the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: The Grosses have donated more than $19 million to the Millennium Villages Project, which addresses the root causes of extreme poverty in Africa by uniting science, business, civil society, and government in a holistic, community-led approach to sustainable development.
EDUCATION: At $23.5 million, Gross's biggest education donation has gone to his alma mater, Duke University, $20 million of which was set aside for financial aid. He has also given to the University of California Irvine, UCLA, and James Hines Teacher of the Year Foundation.
LOOKING FORWARD: While a recent exchange with Carl Icahn over Twitter may prompt Gross to sign the Giving Pledge and give half his fortune to philanthropic causes, Gross has already given major support to a number of organizations that are doing great things in health and economic development. So rather than supporting organizations with similar missions, it is possible that he may look to expand his philanthropy to other areas.
The William and Sue Gross Family Foundation
P.O. Box 15014
Albany, NY 12212