Facebook fortunes rise on Forbes 400 list of richest Americans
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Facebook is making its mark on the Forbes 400.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues have taken key spots on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 richest Americans.
Zuckerberg, whose estimated wealth jumped by $10.6 billion to $17.5 billion, rose to No. 14 in 2011 from No. 35 last year, surpassing Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Page and Brin each added $1.7 billion this year and are tied at No. 15.
Others made rich by Facebook appearing on the Forbes list: founding Facebook president Sean Parker (who has a lengthy profile in Forbes depicting him as an agent of disruption), Facebook backer and board member Jim Breyer and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, the world’s youngest billionaire.
Among other tech players whose growing fortunes have catapulted them onto the Forbes 400 are LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Zynga’s Mark Pincus and Groupon’s Eric Lefkofsky.
To make the cut this year required a personal net worth of at least $1.05 billion.
Microsoft chairman and co-founder Bill Gates is in the No. 1 spot for the 18th year in a row with a net worth of $59 billion.
Forbes paired Gates and Moskovitz to discuss their personal approaches to philanthropy. As the magazine points out, both dropped out of Harvard, both started tech companies and both have thought a lot about how best to give away their fortunes.
Moskovitz recently launched a foundation, Good Ventures, with girlfriend Cari Tuna, a former Wall Street Journal reporter. He also joined the Giving Pledge, which Gates and Warren Buffett created to encourage their fellow billionaires to give away half of their wealth.
Moskovitz, who runs the San Francisco start-up Asana, told Forbes why he decided to get such an early start on giving away his fortune.
‘As I started to talk to people about my plan to get into charity, I actually ran into a lot of cynicism. Some people view it as neutral at best and counterproductive at worst. My reaction to that was: ‘Hey, there’s opportunity here.’ If there’s that much waste in the system but that much capital being applied, then if you can apply it well, then you can have quite a bit more impact. I can’t apply $3 billion in capital to the tech industry. It wouldn’t work. But in infrastructure, education, I can make a real difference. I can change someone’s life, for the better, permanently. If I can improve a kid’s education, I can increase their salary later on and for decades.’
Moskovitz said he wants to make his charity efforts count.
‘There’s a lot of complacency in philanthropy. People figure organizations are trying to do good, and that’s enough, even if the results aren’t there. But that’s wasteful and inefficient. It crowds out better programs,’ Moskovitz said.
-- Jessica Guynn
Top photo: Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg person of the year. Credit: Martin Schoeller / Time
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz speaks at a conference in 2007. Credit: Ryan Anson / Bloomberg News