NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) – Elon Musk said he plans to donate US$100 million (S$132 million) towards a prize for the best carbon capture technology, weeks after he became the world’s richest person.
Musk made the announcement on Thursday (Jan 21) on Twitter, his preferred medium of communication, and said details would come next week.
The Tesla co-founder’s net worth surged in the past year to surpass Jeff Bezos as the carmaker delivered consistent profits, was included in the S&P 500 Index and attracted legions of retail investors. He’s now worth US$201.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
One of his first reactions on becoming the wealthiest human – after an initial shrug – was to solicit advice on how to give it away.
Mr Musk, 49, is a philanthropy neophyte compared with those he just leapfrogged on the Bloomberg ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.
Despite signing the Giving Pledge, Mr Musk has done relatively little publicly in the way of charity. He’s donated more than US$257 million to the Musk Foundation — equivalent to about 0.1 per cent of his current net worth – which in turn distributed US$65 million between 2016 and 2018 to about 200 nonprofits, according to an analysis by Quartz.
Mr Musk has indicated that the reason he’s accumulating wealth is to give it away, or at least redirect it to his passion projects, namely, space exploration. “It’s going to take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars,” he told German publisher Axel Springer. “I want to be able to contribute as much as possible.”