Tulsa, OK

This Tulsa billionaire is giving away his fortune

Ash Jurberg

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I have been writing a series of articles on entrepreneurs and business leaders who are being charitable with their wealth and giving back to their local communities.

Today I wanted to write about George Kaiser- a Tulsa billionaire who promised to give away most of his fortune.

Let's take a quick look at his story

The Tulsa billionaire

George Kaiser is the son of immigrants who fled Nazi Germany and settled in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kaiser was born in Tulsa in 1942 and, in 1966, joined his father's business- Kaiser-Francis Oil Company. Kaiser took over the small business when his father suffered a heart attack in 1969. He grew the business into the 23rd-largest nonpublic energy exploration company in the U.S.

In 1991 he bought the Bank of Oklahoma for $60 million, and he also has a stake in the NBA team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kaiser now has a net worth of $10.3 billion and has promised to give most of it away.

Philanthropy

Kaiser is incredibly wealthy but has been generous with his fortune. In 2010 he signed the Giving Pledge, in which he promised to donate most of his wealth.

Forbes ranks him in the top 25 most generous billionaires, estimating he has given way over $1.56 billion.

No child is responsible for the circumstances of her birth and should not be punished for them in this life...I have therefore developed my charitable focus around the concept of providing the greatest opportunity for self fulfillment for each child, focusing on those who arrive in the least advantaged circumstances. George Kaiser

He has established the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which focuses on community health, criminal justice, childhood education, and arts & culture initiatives in his hometown of Tulsa. Kaiser has pledged to give the balance of his assets, including control of the Bank of Oklahoma, to the George Kaiser Family Foundation at his death.

The foundation helped launch Build In Tulsa, aiming to develop Black entrepreneurship through programs and investing in Black-owned companies. Kaiser has also funded the National Energy Policy Institute, a non-profit energy policy organization located at the University of Tulsa.

There are many more organizations that Kaiser has supported, but unlike many other billionaires, he doesn't seek recognition. In fact, he prefers not to have any buildings or organizations named after him.

"Naming rights are a seductive philanthropic inducement, yet more anonymous operational support may better advance the charitable purpose." George Kaiser

Your thoughts

Readers, what do you think of George Kaiser's story? What other organizations in Tulsa do you think he should donate to?

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts and share this article with others so they can join the conversation.

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