From Elon Musk, a $5.7B Gift

SEC filing indicates Musk donated 5M Tesla shares to unidentified charity or charities in November
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2022 8:36 AM CST
SEC: Elon Musk Gave $5.7B in Tesla Shares
In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo, Elon Musk is seen in Berlin.   (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool Photo via AP, File)

(Newser) – Elon Musk kicked off the holiday season at the end of last year with a rather large gift: about $5.7 billion in Tesla shares, donated to an unidentified charity or charities. CNN Business reports that the comped 5,044,000 shares, presented between Nov. 19 and Nov. 29, were revealed Monday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Tesla's stock at the time of the donation was about $1,000 per share.

That give would place Musk, currently the world's richest person, as the second-largest US donor last year, behind only Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who gave $15 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports Musk's donation came amid a series of stock dumps—sales that the paper notes may have resulted in a large tax bill, which in turn could be mitigated by charitable giving. Axios notes the donation also came days before Musk got into a verbal tiff with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in which he proclaimed that he'd "pay more taxes than any American in history this year."

There is a small clue on who may have received some or all of Musk's donation. Both CNN and the WSJ note that in October, the head of the UN's World Food Program had challenged the billionaires of the world to pony up money to solve world hunger. Musk had replied on Twitter: "If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it." The WFP did come back at him with a plan, but there's been no comment from the WFP on whether it was a recipient of Musk's latest philanthropy. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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