Houston, TX

This Houston couple is giving away billions of dollars

Ash Jurberg

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Readers like to see inspiring stories, so I have been writing a popular series of articles highlighting people who generously give back to their community.

Today, I wanted to showcase one couple in Houston who have been extremely generous in what they do to help the city of Houston and its residents.

The Houston couple

John Arnold was born in Dallas in 1974.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1995, he got a job at Enron in Houston as an energy trader. His skills saw him reportedly earn $750 million for the business in one year.

When Enron collapsed, Arnold started his own hedge fund, Centaurus Advisors. He has also invested in solar farms and deepwater oil developments in the Gulf of Mexico.

The success of his business ventures has seen him build a net worth of $3.3 billion. And he is giving a lot of this away.


John and his wife Laura are well-known philanthropists who donate large sums to their family foundation, which they established in 2010. They believe "philanthropy should be transformational and should seek through innovation to solve persistent problems in society."

One of their first major donations was in 2008, when they gave $10 million to create forty-two public charter schools in Houston.

The Arnolds were the first billionaires to sign on to the advocacy organization Global Citizen's “Give While You Live” campaign. This campaign asks the world’s billionaires to give at least 5% of their wealth every year to a cause. They have also signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment developed by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to get the world’s richest to give away most of their wealth during their lifetimes.

We are blessed to embark on this critical endeavor at a relatively early stage in our lives and with a great sense of urgency. We will devote the majority of our wealth, time and resources to philanthropy in the coming years, and we fully intend to achieve transformative results during our lifetime. There is no more worthwhile work and no greater mission. And there is no reason for delay in making a difference. John and Laura Arnold

They are keeping true to their word. So far, they have donated over $1.2 billion with a focus on criminal justice, education, and healthcare. They have also invested millions into CivicaRx, which plans to manufacture 14 generic drugs and sell them cheaply.

Last year they donated over $270 million to various organizations in Houston and the United States.

Readers, what do you think of the donations made by the Arnolds? What other organizations in Houston would you like to see them support?

Please leave your comments below.

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