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How tech billionaires who own owns on Hawaii are giving to Maui wildfire relief


The devastating wildfires that have ravaged Maui have prompted billionaire tech moguls who have bought wide swaths of property in Hawaii to pitch in with charitable donations to help rebuild the devastated town of Lahaina.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have all paid eight- and nine-figure sums to acquire land and property on the archipelago.

Bezos, who paid a reported $78 million for a 14-acre compound on Maui, has committed to the creation of a $100 million fund to help the island “get back on its feet,” his fiancée, Lauren Sanchez, wrote in a recent Instagram post.

Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, announced on Facebook that the couple was donating an unspecific amount of money.

The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the charity founded by the couple, cut a check for $400,000 to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund, according to Fortune.


Scores of people were killed and billions of dollars worth of damage was caused by wildfires in the town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
New York Post

The Hawaii Community Foundation has also received $500,000 from Pierre Omidyar, the eBay founder whose net worth is estimated by Bloomberg at $9.36 billion.

Omidyar’s donation was reported by Philanthropy News Digest.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has committed to creating a $100 million fund toward relief efforts.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has committed to creating a $100 million fund toward relief efforts.
Getty Images

The Zuckerbergs have amassed some 1,600 acres of land in Kauai — spending a reported total of $175 million.

In 2016, Zuckerberg angered neighbors by building a six-foot-high stone wall around his property which blocked access to a nearby beach.


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's charity has pledged $400,000 toward relief efforts.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s charity has pledged $400,000 toward relief efforts.
Mark Zuckerberg/Instagram

The next year, Zuckerberg filed lawsuits against native Hawaiians who owned nearly a dozen tiny parcels to force them to sell their land at auction so he could “enhance” his privacy.

Those lawsuits were eventually dropped.

Benioff, the software mogul who owns five oceanfront acres in Hawaii which he bought for $12.5 million, told Fortune that his company, Salesforce, donated $1 million to World Central Kitchen, the disaster relief charity headed by renowned chef José Andrés.


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company has contributed $1 million to World Central Kitchen, the initiative run by philanthropist-chef José Andrés.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said his company has contributed $1 million to World Central Kitchen, the initiative run by philanthropist-chef José Andrés.
Getty Images

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder, owns a mansion not far from the remnants of the area destroyed by the wildfires.
Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder, owns a mansion not far from the remnants of the area destroyed by the wildfires.
Roger Askew/The Oxford Union/Shutterstock

Staffers at the San Francisco-based software company reportedly raised eyebrows when Benioff began an all-hands meeting last week with a Hawaiian prayer, lei laying, and hula dancing,” insiders told Fortune.

Benioff’s fondness for Hawaii inspired his move to weave the concept of “Ohana” — the nurturing of family-like bonds that encourage people to be responsible for one another — into Salesforce’s corporate culture.

But the spirit was tested earlier this year when the company laid off 10% of its workforce — which translates into 8,000 employees.


Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison own 98% of the island of Lanai.
Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison own 98% of the island of Lanai.
AP

Ellison, who has spent some $300 million to buy up 98% of the island of Lanai, has yet to publicly state what charitable donation — if any — he has offered.

The Post has sought comment from Ellison.

Thiel, who paid $27 million for a mansion in Makena, which is some 10 miles from Lahaina, has also not disclosed the extent of his charitable donations.

The Post has sought comment from Thiel.



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