During the span of his long career, T. Boone Pickens has created thousands of
jobs and made millions of millions of dollars— for others as well as himself — and he isn’t timid about spreading it around. “I like making money. I like giving it away…. not as much as I like making it, but it’s a close second,” he has often said.
The breadth of his philanthropy —$1 billion during his career —
includes health and medical research, treatment and services;
entrepreneurship; kids at risk; education and athletics, with a
particular focus on his alma mater, Oklahoma State University;
corporate health and fitness; and conservation and wildlife
management. While many donations involve millions of dollars and
attract headlines, there are hundreds more ranging from hundreds of
thousands to several hundred. Each is important in its own way.
In 2006, his charitable activities, which included $175 million and the establishment of the T. Boone Pickens Foundation ensured his continued ranking as one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of top U.S. philanthropists for the second straight year. The Pickens Foundation is improving lives through grants supporting educational programs, medical research, athletics and corporate wellness, at-risk youths, the entrepreneurial process and conservation and wildlife initiatives.
In 2007, Pickens brought his innovative entrepreneurial approach to
the philanthropic sector, announcing the Foundation's largest gifts
yet — $50 million each for two University of Texas health care
institutions: UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and The
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Under
unique agreements, the gifts will create special funds at the
institutions, requiring that they grow to $1 billion ($500 million
each) within 25 years from earnings on the original principal and/or
from new outside donations solicited by the institutions. Under the
terms of the agreement, once the institutions meet the $500 million
marks, they can distribute the funds as they deem fit.
Pickens is one of the most generous university benefactors of all time, having so far contributed more than $500 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, divided nearly evenly between academics and athletics. In many ways, Pickens is a record-setting
philanthropist: His $165 million gift to OSU in 2005 is the single-largest gift for athletics in NCAA history, and the $7 million donation to the American Red Cross in 2005 is the largest individual contribution in the 150-year history of that organization.
“I firmly believe one of the reasons I was put on this Earth was to make money, and be generous with it,” Pickens says. “And that’s what I’ve continually tried to do.”
T. Boone Pickens is currently the chairman and CEO of BP Capital, which operates energy focused commodity and equity funds. He is also the largest shareholder in Clean Energy, the largest provider of vehicular natural gas (CNG and LNG) in North America with a broad customer base in the refuse, transit, shuttle, taxi, police, intrastate and interstate trucking, airport and municipal fleet markets.