Houston, TX

This Houston couple is giving away millions

Ash Jurberg

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This week Forbes released a list of the 25 most generous people in the United States.

I love reading articles like these as they are positive and show the good that people can do for their communities. So I was extra pleased to see a couple from Houston make this list.

John and Laura Arnold gave away $170 million in 2022, meaning they have now given $1.63 billion to various organizations over their lifetime.

Let's take a quick look at their story.

The Houston billionaire

John Arnold was born in Dallas in 1974.

After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 1995, he worked 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 has already given almost half 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 significant 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 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 worlds 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

A few of their donations in 2022 included

  • $10 million to Civica Foundation to produce biosimilar insulin
  • $10 million over a decade to Habitat for Humanity to provide early-stage capital to its affiliates for affordable housing development.
  • $7.5 million to Houston Housing Finance Corporation to support the development of Robin’s Landing, a mixed-use affordable community in Houston

Of course, these are just a few from a very long list. The Arnolds are certainly keeping to their promise of giving their fortune away.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the generosity of the Arnolds? What other organizations in Houston would you like to see John and Laura support?

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

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