THE FORBES 400
it’s another recordbreaking year for the richest americans. For the first time since 1994, there is a new no. 1, Jeff Bezos, the first person ever to appear in the ranks who is worth more than $100 billion. the minimum net worth needed to make the list rose to $2.1 billion, the highest to date and $100 million more than last year. list members’ average net worth is $7.2 billion, up 7.5% from a year ago, while their combined net worth rose to a record high of $2.9 trillion. of that total wealth, half is held by the 45 richest people in the country.
1. Jeff Bezos $160 Billion Self-made Score: * Source: Amazon Age: 54 Residence: Seattle Philanthropy Score:
Bezos is the richest person on earth. His net worth shot up by a record $78.5 billion in the past year, thanks to a 104% surge in the price of Amazon stock. The e-commerce Goliath recorded more than $100 billion in net sales in the first six months of 2018, a 41% jump from the prior year. Also reaching for the stratosphere is Blue Origin, the space company he funds by selling $1 billion or so of Amazon stock a year; the firm, whose mission is to make space travel more accessible, successfully completed its 9th test flight in July. Back on Earth, Bezos made good on his promise to unveil his philanthropic plan. In September, he announced a $2 billion commitment to two initiatives: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families and creating a network of nonprofit preschools in low-income communities that follow the Montessori teaching method (Bezos attended a Montessori school). Called the Bezos Day One Fund, it will need about 1 million Amazon shares—1.3% of his current trove— to fulfill the $2 billion commitment.
3. WaRRen BuffeTT $88.3 billion Self-made SCore: * SourCe: berkshire hathaway age: 88 reSidenCe: omaha PhilanthroPy score:
The revered investor, who has long shied away from investing in technology, has changed his tune. Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies, including Geico and Dairy Queen, has been buying Apple shares since 2016. Berkshire became the tech company’s second-largest investor in early 2018 after amassing a 5% stake. With $103 billion in cash, his firm continues to look for other investments. In August, it took a stake in Indian digital-payments platform Paytm. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway climbed 17% in the last year, boosting Buffett’s fortune by $10.3 billion even as he gave away $3.4 billion in July. As he approaches 90, he is making good on a promise to part with 99% of his fortune. He has already donated over $35 billion, much of it to the foundation of his friends Bill and Melinda Gates. 2. Bill GaTes $97 billion Self-made SCore: * SourCe: microsoft age: 63 reSidenCe: medina, wa PhilanthroPy score: After a 24-year-run as No. 1 on The Forbes 400, Gates has been eclipsed by a fellow Seattle entrepreneur with a fastrising stock. No tears there. Gates sits on the board of Microsoft and still owns a 1.3% stake, worth $11.2 billion, in the software company he cofounded 43 years ago. The rest of his fortune is invested in a mix of stocks, startup firms and more, including a nearly 11% stake in Ecolab, a water treatment and hygiene service firm. He has also invested in Memphis Meats, a startup that grows “clean meat” from chicken, duck and cow cells. In July he disclosed that his father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and announced that he and three other Forbes 400 members (Leonard Lauder, Charles Schwab and Dagmar Dolby), in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, are putting $30 million into a fund that will accelerate diagnosing the disease. But he spends most of his time focused on solving the world’s big problems through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to which he’s donated about $35.8 billion, mostly in Microsoft shares. He’s encouraged philanthropists around the globe, and in 2015 he cofounded the China Global Philanthropy Institute with Ray Dalio (No. 25) and 3 wealthy Chinese.
4. MaRk zuckeRBeRG $61 billion Self-made SCore: * SourCe: facebook age: 34 reSidenCe: palo alto, ca PhilanthroPy score:
The Facebook founder and CEO has been embroiled in an increasingly public battle over election interference, fake news and concerns about user privacy, issues that spurred the company to double the size of its safety and security teams to 20,000 people. In April, Zuckerberg testified before Congress after revelations that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Donald Trump’s election campaign, improperly gathered data on at least 87 million of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here,” he said. The business has taken a hit: Facebook’s revenue growth has slowed, and monthly active visitors decreased in Europe. Zuckerberg’s fortune fell $10 billion in the past year as shares slipped 4% and his philanthropic Chan Zuckerberg Initiative sold some shares.
5. laRRy ellison $58.4 billion Self-made SCore: ( SourCe: oracle age: 74 reSidenCe: woodside, ca PhilanthroPy score:
There’s no end to Ellison’s entrepreneurial drive. This year he launched a wellness startup called Sensei, whose first project is hydroponic farming on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which Ellison bought in 2012 for a reported $300 million. Ellison, who was raised by his great-aunt and uncle, built databases for the CIA before cofounding software firm Oracle in 1977. He stepped down as Oracle’s CEO in 2014 but still serves as its chairman and chief technology officer. In 2016, Ellison pledged $200 million to the University of Southern California to build the Institute for Transformative Medicine, focused on the prevention and treatment of cancer. Ellison has donated over $350 million to his foundation in the past decade, mostly earmarked for biomedical research to curb the effects of aging. Since 2008, Ellison has been a key backer of Reach to Teach, an education program in rural areas of India, which works with the government and NGOs to boost teachers’ skills.
6. Larry Page $53.8 Billion Self-made Score: * Source: Google Age: 45 Residence: Palo Alto, Ca Philanthropy Score:
Page cofounded search engine Google with Sergey Brin (No. 9) in September 1998, with a mission to organize the world’s information. Twenty years later, Google’s parent company, Alphabet (Page is CEO), announced 7 guiding principles (for example, avoid reinforcing unfair bias) in June to chart the company’s move into artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. His Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation, named after his late father, has nearly $2 billion in assets; in the last 5 years, the foundation shifted $365 million to donor-advised funds, making it impossible to track details on most of his giving. Among his few direct charitable donations were $15 million in emergency funds to combat Ebola in 2014 and roughly $3 million to Shoo the Flu, a flu vaccine program for students in public schools in Oakland.
7. Charles Koch $53.5 Billion Self-made Score: % Source: Koch Industries Age: 82 Residence: Wichita, Ks Philanthropy Score:
His Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., with $100 billion in sales, is looking to Silicon Valley for growth. In November the industrial conglomerate launched Koch Disruptive Technologies, a venture arm headed by Koch’s son Chase. The subsidiary led a $125 million fundraising round in May for cloud-computing startup Mesosphere. Koch, who took over the family business after his father’s death in 1967, has given more than $1 billion to charity, with a focus on education and criminal justice reform. Some of the nonprofits he supports include Hudson Link, which offers college prep courses and degrees to prison inmates, and the Phoenix, which uses activities like hiking, yoga and CrossFit to help people who are recovering from alcohol or substance abuse stay sober.
7. David Koch $53.5 Billion Self-made Score: % Source: Koch Industries Age: 78 Residence: New York City Philanthropy Score:
The former executive vice president of Koch Industries stepped down from the company in July. Koch also retired from his position at the Seminar Network—founded by brother Charles and known for its activities in politics—citing health concerns. The prostate cancer survivor pledged $100 million to New York-Presbyterian Hospital for a new ambulatory center, which opened in April; his $150 million pledge to Memorial Sloan Kettering will result in a cancer outpatient facility in 2019. His $1.2 billion lifetime giving also includes about $185 million to his alma mater, MIT, and $110 million to New York’s Lincoln Center.
9. Sergey Brin $52.4 Billion Self-made Score: ( Source: Google Age: 45 Residence: Los Altos, Ca Philanthropy Score:
Brin, who lived in the Soviet Union until he was 6, has said that being in a country that curbed free speech influenced how he and Page would run Google. This led Google to shut down its China-based search engine in 2010 after it learned the government was spying on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists there. Now Brin, as Alphabet’s president, is back in the hot seat after leaked documents reportedly showed its engineers working on a censored version of Google for China. Brin has given over $1 billion to his family foundations.
10. Michael Bloomberg $51.8 Billion Self-made Score: * Source: Bloomberg Lp Age: 76 Residence: New York City Philanthropy Score:
The cofounder of financial information and media giant Bloomberg LP has given away $6 billion. His foundation is spending $200 million to support U.S. mayors and cities, more than $100 million to reduce coal usage globally and millions more on global health and education. A Democrat turned Republican turned independent, Bloomberg served as mayor of New York City for 3 terms. He published an op-ed in June stating that he will support the Democrats in 2018. In September, he announced he would be spending a record amount of money on behalf of women candidates.