Google co-founder Larry Page is making a large charitable donation at the end of each year, and this year’s donation is a staggering $400 million, BEIJING news agency said. But U.S. media pointed out that the donation did not actually go directly to charity.
No wonder, then, in a speech back in 2014, Page said publicly that if he died, he would rather donate billions of dollars of wealth to capitalists like Elon Musk to change the world than to charity.
In 2015, Page’s foundation gave away $94 million in charity packages. In the same period in 2016, they donated $129 million. In 2017, they nearly doubled their endowment, giving $180 million.
On the face of it, this series of good deeds is enough to put Page, the world’s seventh-richest man, on the aura of one of America’s biggest philanthropists, and unfortunately, things are far from so simple and beautiful.
But the US tech news adre notes that under a mountain of tax documents, there is a shocking secret – the $400m donated by the Carl Victor Page Page Foundation Foundation, a charity named after His late father. Not a penny goes directly to charity. These gift packs will be sent out during the Christmas period, not so much because of the festive atmosphere, but also because the end of the year is coming, some of the operation is not ready to go.
Private foundations are required to use at least 5% of their assets each year to ensure that charities that are essentially taxpayer-funded are actually involved in philanthropy
Vox points out that these end-of-year end-of-year donations by the Page Foundation in recent years have essentially simply transferred large amounts of donations to other separate charitable accounts, the Donor Advice Fund (DAF), for which Page also has some control. Technically, the foundation has completed its contribution, meeting the 5 per cent threshold, but on a practical level, the money is kept indefinitely in the DAF, and no one can force it to flow to non-profits that really need it.
The Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation needs to make such a large donation to the DAF precisely because the foundation doesn’t really invest much in traditional philanthropy. For example, the most recent year in which full tax documents are now available, in 2017, the foundation donated $1,000 to the American Cancer Society, nearly $100,000 to the center-left nonprofit New Venture Fund, and nearly $800,000 to give free flu vaccinations to students in the Oakland area. In addition to the three donations, which have a bit of real charity, all of their other donations have gone to the DAF, which is clearly just 5 per cent of the required amount to meet $3 billion in assets.