Measuring Big Givers by a New Metric

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March 18, 2014; Inside Philanthropy

Inside Philanthropy has taken a look at billionaires from the IT sector who have made their mark in philanthropy. However, it has decided not to rank them in order of the dollar value of their gifts. Instead, it has released a list ranking them in terms of the percentage of their wealth that they have given away.

The first surprise is that Bill Gates does not top this list—he comes in at number three. Inside Philanthropy, though, notes the intent of Bill and Melinda Gates to continue to give away almost all of their wealth, which likely will eventually outstrip everyone else.

Currently in the number one slot as the most generous of IT billionaires are Cisco cofounders Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner. When they quit Cisco, they took away $170 million. Since then, they have donated some 70 percent of this wealth, mostly to animal welfare.

Among those near the bottom of the list is the co-founder of Google, Larry Page. Page gave his own reasons for its relative lack of philanthropy in a recent interview in Wired. Wired reminded Page he had once said that rather than leave his fortune to a cause, he might just give it to Elon Musk of Tesla. Page confirmed it, calling Musk’s aspiration to send humans to Mars—“to back up humanity”—a worthy goal.

“That’s a company, and that’s philanthropical,” said Page.—John Godfrey