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Elon Musk has a giant charity. His money stays close to home.| GuyWhoKnowsThings


“What's really striking about Musk is the disjunction between his enormous public persona and his minimal philanthropic presence,” he said. Benjamin Soskis, who studies philanthropy at the Urban Institute. While other billionaires have sought a broad impact on society, Soskis said Musk's foundation lacks “any real direction or focus, outside of his business projects.”

Musk did not respond to requests for comment.

Musk and his younger brother, Kimbal, founded the Musk Foundation in 2001, a year before the sale of PayPal, the online payments company he co-founded, to eBay for $1.5 billion. He made more than $175 million from the sale and would seed his eponymous foundation with about $2 million in eBay stock.

The Musk Foundation's website initially included clever animations, featuring images of satellite dishes and children in classrooms, while encouraging people to apply for grants. In 2005, however, it was deleted and replaced by plain black text stating that the foundation was interested in “science education, pediatric health and clean energy.”

It did not include contact information. Still it's not.

In September 2014, Forbes estimated Musk's net worth to be more than $10 billion, driven by the value of his Tesla stock holdings. But he gave little to his own charity. That year, tax returns show, his foundation had $40,121 in the bank.

That fits with Musk's public stance on philanthropy. His for-profit ventures, he claimed, were his way of changing the world.


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