The final SpaceX flight raised $243 million for the St. Jude

The charity sector should hope that billionaire Jared Isaacman continues to seek new adventures.

Isaacman, who turned a payment processing company he started as a teenager into a multi-billion dollar company, periodically indulges his aviation fascination with flights. turning. Each time, a well-known charity has joined the trip – and the stakes keep getting bigger.

In 2009, Isaacman set the world speed record in a light aircraft, raking in tens of thousands of dollars for Make-a-Wish in the process.

Last September, he took both his flying and philanthropy to a much higher level. Isaacman led the first all-people spacewalk, along with a physician assistant, a community college professor, and a data engineer. Isaacman paid for and commanded the SpaceX flight, called Inspiration4, and he vowed to donate even more than the cost of the flight to St. Jude.
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Isaacman and his wife, Monica, gave themselves $125 million to the hospital, and donations from SpaceX founder Elon Musk ($55 million) and many others eventually brought the total to St. . Jude to over $243 million.

Read more: Four Civilian Astronauts. Three days in orbit. One giant leap. Meet Inspiration4 Crew

Isaacman said, “You won’t fulfill your purpose in life if you don’t maximize the various opportunities that come your way. “But it would be selfish to do that if you weren’t trying to make the world a better place.”

Isaacmans dedication earned them 20th place on Do charity 50Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 22nd annual ranking of America’s greatest donors.

Payment processing company Isaacman started in his parents’ basement with 100 employees when he was 19 years old. That same company, now called Shift4, made him a billionaire when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2020. So did Isaacman. founded Draken International, which operates the world’s largest privately owned fleet of military tactical jets. Last year, the Isaacmans signed the Giving Pledge, pledging to give away the majority of their fortune to charity during their lifetime.

Isaacman was always hungry for something in return. Even in his early 20s, he regularly contributes to the Goodwill Rescue Mission, in Newark, not far from where he grew up in Westfield, New Jersey.

Isaacman said his desire to help stems from seeing families and children “living out of breath” on a family vacation to Cancun when he was young.

“Sometimes it’s just an unfortunate hand that you get dealt with – I find that very, very unfair,” Isaacman said. “My initial contact was with people living in terrible circumstances. But there are other examples of that – such as getting a bad cancer diagnosis. So I wanted to support that cancer treatment, or if that’s not possible, give children a memory through Make-a-Wish.”

Contributions to St. Jude is unrestricted and will support work on a new 625,000-square-foot research facility, named the Inspiration4 Advanced Research Center. The funds will also go towards St.Jude’s six-year, $11.5 billion strategic plan to accelerate cancer research and treatment worldwide. Monica Isaacman’s family is of Chilean descent, and she was particularly concerned, according to Jared, when she saw St. Jude to other parts of the world.

Richard Shadyac Jr., president of Alsac, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. He. “However, in many developing countries, that survival rate is still around 20%.”

Isaacman made two other major donations in 2021. He gave $10 million to the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation for a display honoring Dale Snodgrass, a former floating F-14 fighter pilot Isaacman’s famous and close friend died in a plane crash in Idaho last summer.

He gave another $10 million to the American Rocket and Space Center Education Foundation, in Huntsville, Ala., which supports an educational program known as “Space Camp.” More than 1 million children and adults have graduated from the Space Camp program since it began in 1982 – including Jared Isaacman.

Isaacman first visited when he was 12 years old to participate in a program focused on training fighter jet pilots. The center has been hit hard by the pandemic, and donations from University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and Blue Origin, the spaceflight company owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, have helped keep it going. its activity. Isaacman’s gift will help pay for a new training center to provide simulated flights.

He and the rest of the Inspiration4 crew visited Space Camp this summer, and Isaacman spoke to kids who are going through the same kind of program he’s experienced. “He told our students that he was just like them, a young man whose dream came true through hard work and vision,” said Kimberly Robinson, CEO of the center. mind said.

Isaacman said he plans to focus on his philanthropy and St. Jude and Space Camp will remain priorities going forward. Space Camp and its accompanying space and rocket center expose students to important STEM topics such as robotics, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity, Isaacman said.

“If you can get 100,000 children a year through that and greatly expand their footprint,” he said, “that will make us a better, stronger nation.”


This article was made available to the Associated Press by the Chronicle of Charity. Ben Gose has been writing for the Chronicle since 2002 and has done the profiling of several major philanthropists. AP and The Chronicle receive support from the Lilly Endowment for philanthropic and nonprofit coverage. AP and Chronicle are solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropic coverage, visit

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