Why the Tech Industry is One of the Most Philanthropic
Is the tech industry more generous than others, or is it all just a publicity stunt? When Bill Gates stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2010, many were expecting him to retire to enjoy the spoils of his incredible success with the computing behemoth he had created 25 years prior. However, the announcement by Gates that he would dedicate the rest of his life to philanthropy was one that shocked millions.
Generous and Giving Culture
Gates is not the only tech leader whose aims and goals are philanthropic. According to a report which was published in February, the technology industry is one of the largest contributors to charitable causes in the United States, making up a total of $9.8 billion given to charity in 2014, amounting to forty-seven percent of the total figure. These figures make the tech industry more charitable than the majority of others, even the financial services sector. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, last year donations were increased by almost a third by the country’s top fifty donors. These include big tech names such as WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, tech entrepreneur and Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Google’s Sergey Brin, GoPro founder Nicholas Woodman, and Candle Corporation founder Aubrey Chernick – see Aubrey Chernick Photo Album. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and co-founder Chris Hughes have also been praised for their vast philanthropic efforts.
The Giving Pledge
In 2010, the Giving Pledge was unveiled by Bill and Melinda Gates along with billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The Pledge asks the world’s richest people to continue to donate at least half of their fortunes to charity, and has so far secured at least 128 billionaires from across the world to its cause. Warren Buffett has given fast amounts of his money to charitable causes over the years, and donated almost all of his $73.8 billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is dedicated towards a number of worthy causes regarding healthcare and poverty alleviation.
However, not all of the big names in technology are as philanthropic as others. Apple founder Steve Jobs refused to be part of the Giving Pledge, and upon his return to Apple in 1997, he scrapped all the philanthropic and charitable programs in the company, with reports being that he believed that expanding Apple was more likely to have a more positive impact on society than simply giving away money. However, under the leadership of Jobs, Apple did contribute to the popularization of the Project Red brand, which has helped to fight the HIV and AIDs viruses in parts of Africa. Since then, Apple has become the largest contributor to that charity.
With many of the world’s most innovative minds being so generous, it is encouraging to see tech leaders investing some of their considerable wealth into causes poorly served by governments. And, is it such a bad thing if it is all a publicity stunt? The money is still going towards helping the needy and making improvements in society, whichever the real reason for giving.