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Billionaires - December 14, 2022

Elon Musk’s $5.7 Billion Donation Reportedly Went to His Own Charity

Earlier this year, a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosed that Elon Musk distributed more than 5 million Tesla shares in November 2021.

Musk made the donations just days after the UN World Food Programme explained how $6 billion of Musk’s fortune could help end world hunger. At the time of the filing, the name of the organisation that received Musk’s donation was not revealed.

According to a tax filing that Bloomberg was able to obtain, the Musk Foundation had nearly $9.4 billion in assets by the end of the previous year.

According to Bloomberg, the foundation gave out around $160 million last year, which is its largest donation to date. 

The charitable organisation gave the X Prize Foundation $54 million and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital $55 million, respectively. 

Separately, Musk contributed $50 million to SpaceX’s fundraising effort last year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and he collaborated with X Prize on its $100 million award for ideas that remove carbon emissions.

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Focusing on non-profits and school donations

Other gifts from the Musk Foundation, according to the journal, were focused on supporting charities and educational institutions in the areas surrounding SpaceX’s Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

The Future of Life Institute also received a $4 million donation from the Musk Foundation. This nonprofit organisation claims to be focused on “existential concerns facing humanity,” including artificial intelligence, a topic Musk has previously talked about.

According to Bloomberg, only three people are working for the billionaire’s charity on its tax form: Musk, his right-hand man Jared Birchall, and Matilda Simon. 

The magazine did note that several grant recipients claimed that Igor Kurganov, a former professional poker player, was their primary point of contact at the Musk Foundation.

Kurganov reportedly rose to the position of senior counsellor to Musk during the pandemic and has advised the billionaire to employ “effective altruism” as a means of distributing his money.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, who was recently detained and accused of fraud by US authorities, has actively advocated this tactic.

In 2002, the Tesla CEO and his brother Kimbal Musk established the Musk Foundation. According to its website, the group has made donations to a variety of causes, including artificial intelligence, space exploration, paediatrics, and solar energy systems.

The Giving Pledge, a movement to persuade billionaires to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropy, was launched by Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett in 2012. Musk signed the pledge in 2012.

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