Elon Musk gave $5.7 billion charity final yr. The place the cash went was a thriller—till now

The $5.7 billion of Tesla shares that Elon Musk donated to an unnamed group on the finish of 2021 went to his personal charitable arm, immediately making it one of many largest foundations within the US.

The Musk Basis held $9.4 billion in property on the finish of 2021, in accordance with a tax submitting obtained by Bloomberg Information. It despatched about $160 million to nonprofits final yr, by far probably the most the world’s richest particular person has donated from his group in a calendar yr. 

The billionaire’s largest present in the course of the interval was $55 million to the Memphis-based St Jude Kids’s Analysis Hospital, adopted by $54 million to the X Prize Basis, which he partnered with in 2021 to create a prize for carbon elimination initiatives. 

Different donations listed within the tax kind present Musk following by way of on guarantees to high school districts and nonprofits within the space round Brownsville, Texas, close to his SpaceX spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas. 

Musk, 51, has a private fortune of $167.6 billion, in accordance with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He relocated his companies, together with Tesla, from California to Texas in the course of the pandemic, additionally shifting his charitable basis. 

The muse’s tax kinds listing Musk, his right-hand man Jared Birchall and Matilda Simon as administrators. There aren’t any different workers listed within the submitting. 

The most important basis within the US is the Invoice and Melinda Gates Basis, which had property of just about $55 billion on the finish of 2021. It gave out about $6.2 billion in grants final yr, in accordance with a spokesperson.

Political spat

Musk despatched $5.7 billion of Tesla shares to charity in November 2021 as he sparred with politicians together with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over inequality and a proposed wealth tax. He by no means mentioned the place the cash had finally gone.

A big present to charity would have helped cut back what Musk has described as the most important tax invoice in US historical past. Days earlier than he accomplished a sequence of inventory gross sales price greater than $16 billion — a lot of which was to cowl the train of just about 23 million choices — the Tesla CEO tweeted he would pay greater than $11 billion in taxes for the yr.

Earlier this yr, a number of grant recipients mentioned their major level of contact on the basis was Igor Kurganov, an expert poker player-turned-philanthropist who’s energetic within the efficient altruism area.

There are few apparent indicators that efficient altruism, a philosophical motion that tries to have the best affect by rigorously spending cash to unravel issues, has impacted Musk’s giving. The trigger was closely promoted by Sam Bankman-Fried, whose crypto change FTX declared chapter final month. 

The Musk Basis despatched $4 million to the Way forward for Life Institute, which focuses on lowering the dangers of synthetic intelligence and biotechnology, each of that are prime priorities for efficient altruists. Musk is an adviser on the nonprofit, alongside Morgan Freeman. 

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