However, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO is far from achieving his own publicized philanthropic goals.
According to David Beasly, the executive director for the UN World Food Programme, it would take $6 billion to solve world hunger. Beasly said in a CNN interview that billionaires, such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, can offer a “one-time donation” that can save 42 million people suffering from famine.
Due to the director’s remarks in last month’s interview and his Tweet, which read, “congratulations to @elonmusk for passing up @JeffBezos as the world’s richest person—worth a whopping $221B! Elon, to celebrate, I’m offering you a once in a lifetime opportunity: help us save 42M people from starvation for just $6.6B!! Offer expires SOON.. and lives do too.”
In response to Beasly’s Tweet, Musk offered $6 billion in Tesla stock required to save people from starvation. However, it comes with one condition: the UN describes precisely how the funds will be used.
On Sunday, Musk claimed he was ready to sell the stock at the moment of the Twitter exchange. “If [the World Food Programme] can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” Musk posted. “But it must be open source accounting, so the public sees precisely how the money is spent.”
But how philanthropic has the tech mogul been in recent years?
When he was worth only $2 billion, Musk signed the Giving Pledge nine years ago. The initiative, set up by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet, offers the world’s richest a “moral commitment” to giving most of their wealth to charitable causes—during their lives or in their wills. Other pledgers include British business magnate Richard Branson and the late hotelier Barron Hilton.
Today, Forbes estimates Musk’s net worth to be close to $300 billion, making him the world’s richest man in history. Given that the Giving Pledge is not legally binding, it’s still up to the 50-year-old if he’ll follow through with giving away at least half of his fortune.
More to give
So far, in the first quarter of the year, his charity initiatives include donations to Texan schools, food banks, online educational platform Khan Academy, and COVID researchers, which all add up to $150 million.
In addition, he’s donated more than $25 million to his initiative, the Musk Foundation, which supports research of renewable energy, human space exploration, and pediatric science.
In a piece on Musk’s philanthropic activities by Forbes, his spokesperson says that an added $75 million was given to two “donor-advised funds” through his foundation. These funds were described as “philanthropic bank accounts” as there’s no need to commit to annual distributions and public disclosure.
“It’s clear that if Musk really wants to meet his Giving Pledge promise, he has his work cut out for him,” writes Forbes wealth reporter Hayley C. Cuccinello in the same article. “To give away half of his $68 billion fortune, Forbes calculated for The Forbes 400 list; he’d have to give away $2.3 million per day for the next 40 years.”
However, in another Tweet dated back to June 2018, Musk said that his donations are anonymous. The post responded to a Twitter user saying that he’d love to know more about Musk’s foundation’s deeds.
Perhaps, to meet his publicized charity goals and prove that he’s sharing more, the chief designer of SpaceX can rethink his inclination to philanthropic anonymity.
Banner photo from @elonrmuskk on Instagram.