The founder of eBay aims to be a more entrepreneurial philanthropist than his predecessors
Friday, October 25, 2013
Pierre Omidyar’s wealth—still around $8.5 billion—is not the only reason why any venture by the founder of eBay should be taken seriously. Both at eBay and in his charitable schemes he has demonstrated an ability to turn a promising but vague idea into something concrete and substantial. And the evolution of his philanthropy is a case study with lessons for other entrepreneurs seeking to become benefactors.
In his first few years as a big giver, Mr Omidyar went from embracing the conventional wisdom to challenging it. From the days of Carnegie and Rockefeller a century ago to Bill Gates today, the American tradition has been for the rich to give a large chunk of their fortune to a foundation, usually carrying their name, which then doles out chunks of money to charities it likes. Mr Omidyar started out doing that, but quickly concluded that handing out grants was not the most effective use of his money.
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