Bill and Sue Gross have donated as much as $700 million to charity to date and plan to give away $2 billion more, Bloomberg reports.
In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Gross said the $2 billion figure was "staggering, even to me." The founder of global investment management firm PIMCO and his wife pledged in 2013 to give away their fortune while declining to sign the Giving Pledge. "Sue and I try and keep it quiet," said Gross. "We're not the type to attend functions and parties and galas. We like to work underneath, so to speak."
Nevertheless, their philanthropy, often done through the William and Sue Gross Family Foundation, has been well publicized. It includes gifts to the National Postal Museum, the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Mercy Ships, and Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach. In addition, the couple has made personal donations directly to needy families.
Gross told Bloomberg he'd recently developed an interest in GiveDirectly, an organization that makes targeted donations via mobile payments to the extremely poor in Africa. "Most Africans have cell phones, which is hard to believe," Gross said in the interview. "So if you can do that and contribute $25 or $50 to someone in Uganda that of course you haven't met, that's almost as good as outperforming the market." Gross also said he and Sue don't expect to live long enough to give away their entire fortune, so his three children will have to finish the job.
"I define success differently now than five or ten years ago," said Gross, who today manages a $1.5 billion fund for Janus Capital Group, Inc., a tiny fraction of the $293 billion flagship fund he once oversaw at PIMCO. "Success in the early years was business-related and asset growth-related, and, of course, with family, was related to how well your son or daughter was doing on the soccer field." In contrast, now that their kids are grown and he and his wife are older, "success becomes a function of what we can do with the rest of the world, to help others."