After building one of the largest digital advertising technology companies, billionaire Jeff T. Green, founder of The Trade Desk, has promised to give away most of his wealth.
Today Green joined The Giving Pledge, which includes more than 200 other billionaires who have pledged to donate most of their fortunes to charity. Green indicated that he plans to give away more than 90% of his fortune to “data-driven philanthropy” either before or at the time of his death.
The Giving Pledge—founded in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffett—originated with 40 American billionaires with the goal of giving away a majority of each person’s wealth “to address some of society’s most pressing problems.” Since 2013, it has expanded to include some of the world’s wealthiest people from 27 countries including the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Peru, Russia, Tanzania and Turkey. As a part of the pledge, signatories often write a letter detailing why they are joining the group and how they plan to use their wealth to solve a variety issues such as alleviating poverty, helping refugees, empowering women and girls, investing in medical research or funding environmental sustainability initiatives.
“My family foundation and its giving arm—Dataphilanthropy—is dedicated to the mission that passionate, yet data-driven, rational philanthropy is the most effective way to deploy capital against humanity’s toughest problems,” Green wrote in his letter. “We will invest in projects where we can apply data to understand progress, mistakes and opportunities. We will invest in communities, business and people with both time and money, and where that essential combination of resources can help us achieve progress at scale.”
Founded in 2009, The Trade Desk’s technology enables marketers to buy data-driven digital advertising across a variety of platforms to reach consumers with hyper-targeted messages. Since going public on the Nasdaq in 2016, The Trade Desk’s stock has increased from $2.77 per share to $111.64 today —nearly 4,000% growth and a market cap of $53.66 billion. Green’s own net worth is now around $6 billion, according to Forbes. That makes him the 253rd richest person in America.
In his letter, Green recounted a memory from high school when he met a homeless man in Denver and spent hours talking to him and listening to learn more about his life.
“I didn’t have an ideal home life as a kid, but my upbringing has shaped who I am today,” he wrote. “It has made me intently curious about people. What motivates them? What series of events, fortunate or otherwise, has led them to where they are today?”
The letter also details Green’s interest in improving access to education, describing it as “the great equalizer.” He said he’s “interested in all philanthropy and venture philanthropy where data can validate a thesis, followed by testing, then scale and growth.”
“It can address the social and economic disparities we face as humanity,” Green wrote. “We are all born with the potential to learn, to grow, to make contributions to our communities and society at large. Some of us face greater systemic obstacles than others. We can attack that problem methodically, empirically, and systematically.”
In June 2020, Green founded the Jeff T. Green Family Foundation, which has so far donated $250,000 to a mentoring program and $250,000 to a scholarship program at Cal-State Channel Islands University. A separate nonprofit, called Dataphilanthropy, has given an undisclosed amount to the Ruth Cheatham Foundation to provide scholarships to kids and teenagers with cancer. According to Green, The Trade Desk’s success has “created thousands of millionaires” and he hopes his own pledge will prompt many of them to “find their own way to give back.”
“No-one got here alone,” Green writes in his Giving Pledge letter. “Many of those TTD employees, investors, partners, and my children are part of the Gen Z and Alpha generations—and they arguably care more about social change than any generation that preceded them. They want to be part of the solution—something much bigger than themselves. This gives me tremendous hope for how much progress we will make under their watch. And I could not be happier to play my part.”