Topline: The latest billionaire to promise to leave his fortune to charity: Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who announced to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he plans to give away 90% of his $5.9 billion fortune to charity (and added he would donate to re-elect President Trump).
- Marcus (#337 on Forbes’ billionaires list with a reported $5.9 billion net worth) has said he has already donated over $2 billion to charitable organizations across the globe. It’s estimated he could give away over $6 billion in his lifetime.
- Marcus (and his wife Billi) joined the Giving Pledge in 2010, a consortium of the world’s wealthiest people who pledged to give away at least half their fortunes in their lifetimes. The Giving Pledge was launched by Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffet, and also includes Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Michael Bloomberg.
- “I’ve got all the houses I need. I live very well. My kids are taken care of. Everything I live for now is finding the right things to put my money into and that can give me a rate of return in emotion and doing good things for this world,” said Marcus.
- Marcus dinged Trump for his communication skills, but said the president deserves praise for standing up to Iran and North Korea, working on trade with China, and increasing jobs in the U.S.
Key Background (Politics): Marcus was reported to be one of Trump’s biggest donors in the 2016 election, having contributed $7 million to help elect him. For the 2018 midterms, Marcus donated $7.9 million to outside money groups, mostly political action committees like the Senate Leadership Fund and the John Bolton Super PAC, and entirely to Republicans.
Key Background (Charity): Marcus donated $250 million to build the Georgia Aquarium, the nation’s largest such facility. He’s given $25 million to Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy and research operation, as well as founded and funded the Marcus Institute for children and teenagers with developmental disabilities. He’s also the chairman of the Marcus Foundation, has funded military veteran, free enterprise, and Jewish causes, like his $25 million donation in 2016 to a blood donation center in Israel.
Lisette Voytko, Forbes Staff