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Billionaire BYU grad to give away 90% of his wealth: Here’s why

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A Brigham Young University graduate and tech industry CEO has committed to donating more than 90% of his wealth to help others.

In an announcement with The Giving Pledge – described as a “movement of philanthropists who commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetimes or in their wills” – Jeff Green commits to giving away more than 90% of his wealth before or at the time of his death through data-driven philanthropy.

Green is the CEO and chairman of The Trade Desk, an advertising tech firm he founded in 2009, according to Forbes. Before his digital ads company, Green founded and served as COO of AdECN, an online advertising exchange acquired by Microsoft in 2007. Forbes reports The Trade Desk had $836 million in revenue in 2020.

According to the Forbes 400 from October 2021, Green has a net worth of $4.4 billion.

In his pledge, Green highlights his “family foundation and its giving arm – Dataphilanthropy.” He says it is “dedicated to the mission that passionate, yet data-driven, rational philanthropy is the most effective way to deploy capital against humanity’s toughest problems.”

Green describes a moment when he was 17-years-old and met a homeless man in Denver. He recounts that after their time together, he found himself “dwelling on it a great deal over the following months, unable to shake one core question that was taking root in my mind — Why is he out there on the streets in the December cold while I am living a more comfortable life?“

He continues, saying he does not believe money can solve the problems people face.

“Until well into adulthood, I constantly worried about having enough money to make ends meet. But it was never really about the money itself. It was always about what money can do,” Green says. He continues:

Money cannot buy happiness. Money can buy things that may make life more enjoyable. But those things and that enjoyment are always fleeting. When you think about the problems you face in life, the accumulation of things is rarely the solution.

But if we combine money with people and time, we can progress solutions to some of the common problems that people face. I truly believe that when joined with smart, rational, passionate, motivated, focused, incentivized people—money can empower us to change almost anything.

Government money (long before mine) has been thrown at the very problems and suffering that I intend to address through data-driven philanthropy. Being deliberate, focused, smart, passionate, and collaborative is the only way to make an outsized impact and create leverage with the wealth I plan to donate.

Green closes out his pledge saying he will not only donate his funds by his time “to allocate those funds deliberately, and to be personally engaged.”

“I expect to spend at least the next 10 years doing good for profit at my company, The Trade Desk (TTD). But at some point, I expect to point all my drive and ambition at venture philanthropy. I deeply desire for my children and family to join me in giving back.”

The Giving Pledge was created by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet as “an open invitation for billionaires, or those who would be if not for their giving, to publicly commit to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.” Over 220 billionaires have signed on, including MacKenzie Scott, the former wife of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; Richard and Joan Branson, responsible for the Virgin Group; and Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder.

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