Tim Cook donates $5 million of his Apple fortune to charity

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Tim Cook goes to Washington
Tim Cook has said he will give his entire fortune away to charity.
Screenshot: Apple

Tim Cook, a freshly minted billionaire thanks to Apple’s continued powerhouse performance, last week gifted more than $5 million worth of Apple shares to charity.

According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Cook donated 10,715 shares on Friday. At close of play Friday, Apple was trading at $497.48. This week it has passed $500.

Cook has not revealed which charity he donated the money to. However, it is not the first time he has given similar sums to charity. He gave similar amounts to charity in both 2019 and 2018. Because Apple’s share price has increased substantially in the last year, this year he gave substantially fewer shares than he gave on this occasions since the individual shares are worth more. By comparison, last year Cook’s $5 million donation was equal to around 23,700 shares of AAPL.

In the past, Cook’s charitable donations have included giving funds to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights and the Human Rights Campaign. He has also given money to Human Rights Campaign’s Project One America. This group promotes LGBTQ rights in the U.S. South, where Cook grew up.

Tim Cook and Apple’s charitable donations

Cook’s charitable contributions are separate to those made by Apple. However, under Cook’s leadership Apple frequently donates money to charitable causes. Most recently this included money to help with relief efforts with the California wildfires. Despite this, Cook has never set up an official charitable foundation within Apple. In a 2017 interview, he explained that:

“I looked at it in early 2012. And I decided not to do it. And here’s why. When a company sets up a foundation, there is a risk, in my judgment, of the foundation becoming this other thing that is not connected to the company. It has a separate board of directors. They make reasonably independent decisions sometimes. It becomes a separate thing. I don’t want that for Apple. I want everybody involved.

If we had a foundation, my fear was it becomes something that 10 or 12 or 20 or 50 people do. And all of a sudden for the 120,000, it’s just this separate thing out there. People work here to change the world. So I think that should be integral to what the company does. Not peripheral in a foundation.”

Tim Cook has said that he plans to give away his fortune to charity, after first paying his nephew’s college fund. Relatively little is known about Cook’s personal life. However, he reportedly lives a relatively frugal lifestyle for a person in his position. Especially for someone who is one of the longest serving Apple executives in history, presiding over a period of unparalleled growth for the now $2 trillion tech giant.