Silicon Valley execs shell out for charity

Silicon Valley executives crack open their wallets for charity more than anyone else, according to a report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The “Philanthropy 50” report found the top five biggest donors to U.S. charities last year included several tech power couples under the age of 40, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin and wife Anne Wojcicki, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, along with Texas financiers John and Laura Arnold.

Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which created the Philanthropy 50 report, told the Merc:

“There’s a real change in how people think about philanthropy. It used to be something people would do later in life, but now they’re saying, ‘I want to start doing good right away.’”

Other top 50 philanthropists include more Silicon Valley leaders like Sequoia Capital chairman Michael Moritz, Oracle chairman Jeff Henley and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.

These large donations shouldn’t come as a surprise, as this week the U.S. Census Bureau released a report showing Silicon Valley has the nation’s second-highest concentration of wealthy people.

How wealthy are these people exactly?

Approximately 16 percent of Santa Clara County households make up the nation’s top 5 percent of income-earners raking in at least $191,000 each year.

Despite all this money-making, the amount given by the top 50 philanthropists is still less than the amount given before the recession. However, since many of Silicon Valley’s wealthy individuals tend to be younger, they are also starting new trends of their own.

Patrick Rooney, an associate dean at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, told the Merc:

“This is a new phenomenon of ‘giving while living.’ Historically, people worked for most of their lives before they amassed sizable wealth, so it made sense for them to give it away as an end-of-life strategy.”

Philanthropists donated their big bucks toward various causes, with most favoring community programs and medical research. Also, people like Zuckerberg and Brin have their own foundations to which they donate millions of dollars of their fortune towards.

Who knows, maybe they’ll feel generous enough to foot the bill for America’s Cup.