Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, has announced he intends to give away almost all of his roughly $800 million fortune before the end of his life.
After providing for his 10-year-old nephew’s education, he has said he will donate the rest to charity. Although he wasn’t specific on which charities he will choose, he’s previously shown interest in organizations working to end HIV/AIDS, efforts to combat climate change, and Stanford University hospitals. He also gave $50 million to Product Red, a charity working against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Cook has said that he would like to put together a systematic approach to philanthropy.
Cook’s interest in corporate philanthropy sets him apart from his Apple predecessor, Steve Jobs, who was less inclined to make public donations.
“You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” Cook told Fortune Magazine.
Given the estimated size of his fortune, Cook could end up being far more than just a pebble. Though not yet a billionaire, his base salary is reported at $1.75 million, and his net worth is roughly $120 million, based on his Apple stock holdings. His other investments, if fully vested, could be worth about $665 million. That’s far more than small change!
Cook would be joining many other wealthy, high profile executives in giving generously. In 2010, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates launched the Giving Pledge, a request to the wealthy to donate at least 50% of their funds to charity before their deaths. A variety of big names have signed up, including Tesla chief executive Elon Musk, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
In fact, “philanthropreneurs” are becoming a common element of the technology and business industries. Those who are well off, particularly in up and coming areas, are giving to the less fortunate more and more, both as individuals and as larger corporations.