A $1.9 billion gift from Bill and Melinda Gates kicked off an increase in charitable giving by America’s top 50 most generous donors. The Philanthropy 50 incorporates the top 50 philanthropists in America, who according to estimates donated nearly $5.6 billion to non-profits in 2016. In recent years, charitable donations have been steadily increasing by 33% some estimates say, but the largest change in charitable contributions gifted by the super-rich is the number of young tech donors doling out contributions.
In all, 12 new young tech donors have been added to the Philanthropy 50 list in recent years with their sizable donations. Donors such as Sean Parker, former Facebook President, and Napster creator, to Jan Koum—the founder of WhatsApp—are just a few names changing the face of philanthropy.
Of the total $10.2 billion donations made in 2016, the tech industry provided 49% of those contributions. Over 60% of funds donated went to foundations, while $1.5 billion went to colleges and universities across the nation. Donors under the age of 40, and mostly involved with tech were more inclined to earmark their money for foundations and other endowments for later distribution.
Many of the foundations receiving this money are advocates for STEM study-programs and enterprises. Young tech donors are changing the way large philanthropic donations are handled. Some predict that with these donations will inevitably be used for immediate change within the tech industry, unlike traditional philanthropists who have held funds within large endowments over a period of time.
It appears that for many of these young tech donors, donating large amounts of money to tech-driven foundations is a great way to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and research. For instance, Sean Parker donated $5 million to support Stand Up to Cancer in 2012. At the time the organization specialized in creating “dream teams” for cancer patients. The teams are comprised of researchers from around the world working on accelerating the pace of cancer treatment research in the laboratory, to cancer clinics.
Young wealthy tech donors are changing the face of big Philanthropy in more ways than one. Their massive contributions help accelerate research that could save millions of lives, as well as educate the up-and-coming generation of tech geniuses. Tech donors are not only changing lives today but are planning for the future in a phenomenal way, by donating massive amounts of money to causes and foundations dedicated to making the world a better place.