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Musk’s US$5,7bn mystery gift went to charity

Musk’s US$5,7bn mystery gift went to charity

The US$5,7 billion of Tesla shares that Elon Musk donated to an unnamed organisation at the end of 2021 went to his own charitable arm, making it one of the largest foundations in the US.

The Musk Foundation held US$9,4 billion in assets at the end of 2021, according to a tax filing obtained by Bloomberg News.

It sent about US$160 million to non-profits last year, by far the most the world’s richest person has donated from his organisation in a calendar year.

The billionaire’s largest gift during the period was US$55 million to the Memphis-based St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, followed by US$54 million to the X Prize Foundation, which he partnered with in 2021 to create a prize for carbon removal projects.

Other donations listed in the tax form show Musk following through on promises to school districts and non-profits in the area around Brownsville, Texas, near his SpaceX spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas.

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Musk, 51, has a personal fortune of US$167,6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He relocated his businesses, including Tesla, from California to Texas during the pandemic, also shifting his charitable foundation.

The foundation’s tax forms list Musk, his right-hand man Jared Birchall and Matilda Simon as directors. There are no other employees listed in the filing. The largest foundation in the US is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which had assets of almost US$55 billion at the end of 2021. It gave out about US$6,2 billion in grants last year, according to a spokesperson.

Musk sent US$5,7 billion of Tesla shares to charity in November 2021 as he sparred with politicians including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over inequality and a proposed wealth tax.

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