New York City, NY

This New York billionaire is giving his fortune away

Ash Jurberg

I have been writing a series of articles on business leaders and entrepreneurs, examining how they give back to their communities.

Today I want to take a New York billionaire who is giving his fortune away.

The New York billionaire

William Ackman was born in 1966 in New York. He received a Bachelor of Arts in social studies from Harvard in 1988 before earning an MBA from Harvard in 1992. After receiving his MBA, he started the investment firm Gotham Partners.

In 2004 he founded Pershing Square Capital Management, which now has $18.4 billion in assets under management.

The success of his businesses has led to Ackman accumulating a net worth of $3.2 billion. And he has promised to give most of it away.


Ackman has signed the Giving Pledge, making the public promise to give most of his fortune away while he is still alive.

My earliest memories include my father's exhortations about how important it is to give back. These early teachings were ingrained in me, and a portion of the first dollars I earned, I gave away. Over the years, the emotional and psychological returns I have earned from charitable giving have been enormous. The more I do for others, the happier I am.” William Ackman

And he is following through on his promise.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Ackman was the third most charitable person in the United States in 2021. Last year he donated stock worth $1.34 billion to his Pershing Square Foundation, a donor-advised fund and a nonprofit.

The Pershing Square Foundation (PSF) was "established in 2006 to support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact across the globe."

It has already committed over $500 million in grants across several fields, including health and medicine, education, economic development, and social justice.

Some other organizations that Ackman has supported include:

  • $1.1 million to the Innocence Project in New York City and Centurion Ministries in Princeton, New Jersey, which work to exonerate wrongly convicted people.
  • Ackman donated $6.8 million to the Center for Jewish History
  • $2.3 million for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization that assists, supports, and provides opportunities to people with physical challenges

Readers, what do you think of Ackman's commitment to philanthropy? And what organizations in New York City do you think he should support?

Please leave your comments below.

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