Boston, MA

The Boston billionaire who is giving away his fortune

Ash Jurberg
Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

Recently I have written a series of articles on billionaires. These have been researched based on the recent report by Forbes, which lists the 400 wealthiest people in the United States.

The articles generate a lot of interest, but I receive hundreds of comments from people asking what these rich people do to give back to the community.

So today, I thought I would focus on one person in Boston who leads the way in philanthropy- who is determined to give away most of his fortune to worthy causes.

It is a name that many in Boston and across the country may be familiar with - Amos Hostetter Junior.

The Boston billionaire

Amos has a net worth of $3.9 billion, ranking him at number 289 on the United States rich list. Let's take a quick look at how he made his fortune.

Amos was born in New Jersey in 1937. He graduated with a B. A in Economics from Amherst College in 1958 and then completed an MBA at Harvard University. In 1963, armed with just $1500, he invested in a Boston cable TV company that became Continental Cablevision. To say that was a wise investment would be a vast understatement. Over the next thirty years, Amos built Continental into the largest privately-owned cable company in the United States. He sold the business to US West for $11 billion in 1996.

The company was eventually renamed Media One and moved its headquarters from Boston. This allowed Amos to focus on his true passion- philanthropy.

The Boston philanthropist

In 1997, Amos, together with his wife Barbara, founded the Barr Foundation in Boston. Each year the foundation donates tens of millions of dollars each year to support the arts and education and fight climate change. Over the last 20 years, the Barr Foundation has donated more than $1 billion since 1999, mainly to projects across Boston.

Together with Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Amos co-chairs the Green Ribbon Commission, a council of Boston’s business leaders. They develop shared strategies to fight climate change and advise the city of Boston on its Climate Action Plan.

Amos certainly has put his fortune to good use. Forbes gives each billionaire in the top 400 a philanthropy score from 1 to 5 based on how much of their wealth they donate. The two wealthiest people in America- Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk- score a 1 out of 5.

It's no surprise that Amos scores a 5. Only seven other billionaires in the top 400 received a 5. It's good to see that Amos Hostetter Jr is doing so much for projects across Boston and helping the city of Boston out.

There is a reason that people say Amos is an example of a nice guy who finished first.

Readers, what do you think? Are you glad with what Amos is doing in Boston? Would you like others to follow his lead and do more?

Have any of you met or had any dealings with Amos? Let us know in the comments below!

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