The mystery recipient of a $5.7 billion donation Elon Musk made in 2021 has been revealed. The money went to Musk’s own charitable foundation, Bloomberg reported, citing a tax filing obtained by the outlet.
Musk gifted more than 5 million shares of Tesla
to a charitable organization in November 2021. An SEC filing said the donation went “to charity,” but didn’t indicate which group received the money. According to Bloomberg, it ended up at the Musk Foundation, a private charitable foundation that Musk created in 2002.
The Musk Foundation’s largest donations last year, according to Bloomberg, were $55 million to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and $54 million to the X Prize Foundation, which is involved with a competition Musk launched to give a $100 million prize to a team that comes up with a solution for permanently removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Musk, who lost his spot as the world’s richest person as of Monday, has an estimated net worth of $177.5 billion. In 2012, Musk signed the Giving Pledge, a public promise to give away most of his wealth either during his lifetime or in his will.
While some billionaires announce their giving on social media or in other public forums, Musk is comparatively quiet about his charity, though he occasionally tweets about his donations. He got into a public spat with the director of the United Nations World Food Program in 2021, saying he would donate $6 billion to fight hunger if the World Food Program could “describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger.”
That was just weeks before the SEC filing disclosed Musk’s $5.7 billion donation to charity, prompting some to speculate that Musk had given the billions to the anti-hunger group. That doesn’t appear to be the case. The World Food Program declined to comment earlier this year and could not be reached immediately for comment Tuesday.
Musk, who co-founded Tesla and SpaceX and is now the owner of Twitter, said earlier this year that he considered his companies to be a form of philanthropy, because, according to him, they exist to help humanity.
“SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company are philanthropy,” Musk said in an interview with Chris Anderson, head of TED Talks. “If you say philanthropy is love of humanity, they are philanthropy. Tesla is accelerating sustainable energy. This is philanthropy. SpaceX is trying to ensure the long-term survival of humanity with multi-planet species. This is love of humanity.”
The Musk Foundation runs a bare bones website with no contact information. It says it makes grants in support of renewable-energy research and advocacy; human space exploration research and advocacy; pediatric research; science and engineering education; and development of safe artificial intelligence to benefit humanity.
Tesla shares have taken a beating this year. They’re down 54% since the start of the year, compared to a 6% drop for Dow Jones Industrial Average
and a 15% decline for the S&P 500
See also: Elon Musk’s Starlink will reposition satellites to provide Florida with more internet access as residents recover from Hurricane Ian