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Tech stocks have had a rocky start in 2022, but that doesn’t change the fact that the past two years have treated the field’s lucky winners very well. As pandemic lockdowns and social distancing obliged us to live behind our phones, computers and TV screens, a wide array of tech firms prospered, padding their owners’ ever-compounding fortunes.

Of the 27 ultra-wealthy individuals or couples who’ve taken the Giving Pledge over the past two years, over half of the signatories hail from the tech industry. Some of their firms are household names—companies like Pinterest, Zillow and DoorDash. Others are less well-known, but have nonetheless elevated their founders to stratospheric wealth. This is also quite a young group, with many of these new pledgers still in their 30s.

These donors’ philanthropic interests vary, as does the extent of their philanthropic engagement. Although we’ve written before about the Giving Pledge’s general failure, so far, to secure a notably higher level of billionaire philanthropy, a new signatory is always a donor to watch. While it’s anybody’s guess whether they’ll actually end up fulfilling their pledges, giving at a younger age remains a definite trend among tech winners.

Here are eight recent Giving Pledge signatories to watch from the world of tech. We’ve stuck mainly to U.S.-based donors here, but there’s no shortage of examples from abroad, including Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, the millennial Australian founders of Canva (whom we’ve covered in greater detail here) and Beom-su Kim and Miseon Hyeong of South Korea, whose fortune is derived from Kakao.

Ben and Divya Silbermann

Based around photo bookmarking, Pinterest’s social media business model has coexisted in a space dominated by much-larger rivals by appealing to artists, designers and other creatives. Historically, Pinterest has also appealed to a female demographic. Nevertheless, Pinterest was founded by three men—Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann, who’s currently the firm’s CEO. The 39-year-old Silbermann and his wife Divya signed the pledge in 2021, and Forbes reports they’re currently worth about $1.8 billion.

There’s no pledge letter currently on file for the couple, and considering their relative youth, any big-time giving from the Silbermanns is likely a case of “stay tuned.” However, Divya Silbermann is apparently leading the charge at the couple’s new philanthropy, Tambourine, which has given for ALS research but operates well under the radar for the time being.

Tony Xu and Patti Bao

As co-founder and CEO of digital food delivery company DoorDash, Tony Xu became a billionaire at age 36. Xu is an immigrant from China whose Giving Pledge letter, co-written with his wife Patti Bao, emphasizes their humble origins as one-time newcomers to the U.S., and the fact that “having significant wealth is a foreign position for us.” Xu got his first taste of the food service industry helping out at his family’s restaurant as a child. Following a pandemic-era boom in the online food delivery market and an IPO in December 2020, his current wealth stands at about $1.7 billion.

Like Ben and Divya Silbermann, Xu and Bao have yet to embark on much major giving. But they have expressed an interest in combating anti-Asian hate, joining other business leaders to fund AAPI advocacy groups in early 2021 through the initiative Stand With Asian Americans. Incidentally, Silbermann was also a part of that effort.

Jeff Green

Last fall, I went into greater detail about Green, who co-founded and currently heads digital advertising company The Trade Desk. Raised in a Mormon family, the 44-year-old Green “grew up worrying about money,” according to his pledge letter. He’s often described as one of the wealthiest natives of the state of Utah, but now lives in California and recently took the unusual step of officially parting ways with the Mormon Church.

Channeling a fortune of around $4 billion, Green has made some first moves as a philanthropist, but has also stated an intention to devote at least another decade to business before getting into philanthropy full-time. The billionaire currently gives through the Jeff T. Green Family Foundation, founded in mid-2020, and an associated vehicle called Dataphilanthropy. Higher ed causes are one initial focus, including student mentoring programs and scholarships.

Jared and Monica Isaacman

Jared Isaacman gained notoriety last fall as the mission commander of Inspiration4, a SpaceX flight that entered the record books as the first orbital spaceflight with only private citizens onboard. A trained pilot, the 38-year-old Isaacman is also a tycoon in his own right, having founded the fintech firm Shift4 Payments as a teenager. Isaacman also co-founded and later sold Draken International, a military aviation contractor.

Inspiration4 served as a $240 million fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, with $100 million coming from Isaacman and another $50 million from SpaceX’s founder Elon Musk.

Isaacman’s pledge letter, co-authored with his wife Monica, highlights Make-A-Wish Foundation as well as St. Jude, and the couple cite a commitment to “supporting causes that help children and families in incredibly difficult situations.” The letter also mentions STEM education and an interest in backing “intellectually stimulating experiences” for young people.

Rich and Sarah Barton

Rich Barton is a serial tech entrepreneur whose greatest hits include an array of household names—Expedia, Glassdoor and Zillow. The 54-year-old is currently Zillow’s CEO and is worth about $2.2 billion. Barton and his wife Sarah, a physician, took the Giving Pledge in 2020 (as did the remainder of this list).

Though Rich Barton remains active in his CEO role and on the boards of numerous other businesses, the couple has engaged in philanthropic giving since 2004 through the Seattle-based Barton Family Foundation. According to the foundation’s website, around $12 million has gone out the door since 2016, with more than $4.7 million of that total dedicated to criminal justice reform efforts. Sarah Barton appears to be spearheading the foundation’s current grantmaking, which is centered on structural justice system reform, including via alternatives to incarceration and restorative justice.

Ron and Gayle Conway

Ron Conway, 70, and his wife Gayle may have signed the Giving Pledge in 2020, but their record as donors goes back a while. So does Conway’s legend as a Silicon Valley VC, a career that has seen him invest in hundreds of tech firms since the early 1990s, including PayPal, Google, Twitter and Airbnb. Conway founded SV Angel, the San Francisco-based seed fund, in 2009.

When we spoke with him last fall, Conway told us about his giving philosophy and how he sees his Giving Pledge as a way to encourage tech founders to “donate meaningful amounts of their net worth and begin the process of becoming ‘never-billionaires.’” While the Conways conduct much of their giving anonymously and not through a foundation, they’ve been known as major donors to the University of California, San Francisco. More recently, Conway has also backed the L.A.-based Slauson & Co., a VC enterprise that aims to democratize access to entrepreneurship.

Chad Richison

Paycom, known as one of the first fully online payroll service providers, got its start when Chad Richison founded it in 1998. Now 51, Richison has a fortune of around $2.6 billion and remains Paycom’s CEO, where he pulls down a salary that the New York Times has called “stratospheric”—$211 million in 2020.

Though Richison called Paycom his “life’s profession” in his pledge letter, he described one of his philanthropic vehicles, the Green Shoe Foundation, as his “life’s purpose.” Founded in 2015, Green Shoe offers retreats and sessions with licensed therapists to adult participants, free of charge, to help them address trauma. Richison funded Green Shoe with upward of $17 million. He also gives to support children’s education, foster care, food supplies and mental health through the Richison Family Foundation, and has been a major donor to his alma mater, the University of Central Oklahoma.

Jeff and Marieke Rothschild

While these Rothschilds aren’t members of the historic banking family, they are very rich—$4.1 billion at the time of writing. Now in his late 60s, Jeff Rothschild worked in tech roles and co-founded several start-ups over the years. But his big break came in 2005, when he joined a company called Facebook as an engineer and found himself with millions of shares when Zuckerberg’s empire went public.

On the philanthropy front, the Rothschilds are known as major donors to Vanderbilt University, which Jeff attended and where he currently sits on the board of trustees. The couple’s other giving includes $10 million to the Stanford Cancer Institute. Their pledge letter cites scholarships, healthcare access, financial independence, medical science and the protection of open spaces as causes of interest.

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