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3

Portfolio Exits

1

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Ultra-wealthy Americans want you to think their philanthropy will change the world. They should just pay their taxes instead.

Oct 9, 2021

Email address By clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Insider as well as other partner offers and accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy . In this week's episode of " Pitchfork Economics ," journalist Anand Giridharadas, author of the excellent book "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World," explains how billionaires use philanthropic giving to whitewash their reputations — and avoid taxation. "We're living in this time in which you cannot walk down the street in certain ZIP codes of this country without bumping into a plutocrat trying to change the world," Giridharadas said. It seems as though every billionaire in America has at least one nonprofit foundation focusing on one social ill or another. But aren't these splashy hundred-million-dollar-plus donations a good thing? Aren't these billionaires creating positive change with their charitable donations? Giridharadas argues that the charitable giving is a smokescreen to disguise the fact that the richest humans in the history of world "benefit from a near-monopoly on the fruits of the future" in which they have "essentially rigged the society to function as a casino in which the house — i.e., them — always wins." "You've got a whole class of people who have cause to be resented," Giridharadas said, "who are, in many cases, manipulating their company books so they don't pay taxes, who are underpaying workers." For those wealthy few, he said, philanthropy is "a relatively cheap, bargain-basement way of changing your name. You can do bad things in the billions and wipe it out with gifts in the millions." Despite their splashy press releases touting huge donations, the fact is that the super-rich's charitable giving is a drop in the bucket compared to their ever-growing fortunes. Zara Khan points out for Datawrapper , "charitable donations by the richest 20 Americans account for less than 1% of the total wealth of the donors. "   That's why "Pitchfork Economics" host Nick Hanauer this week wrote an editorial for the New Republic calling on Congress to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans — including Hanauer. "It drives me crazy when I hear Democrats say that 'for the sake of the economy' we have to cut back on the $3.5 trillion spending in Biden's Build Back Better legislation, or that we can't possibly raise taxes on the wealthy and huge corporations as much as Biden proposed," Hanauer wrote. "Those folks have it totally backward," Hanauer continued. "Taxing the rich is the only plan that would increase investment, boost productivity, grow the economy, and create more and better jobs." He's right — raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations would pay for the $3.5 trillion in spending over the 10 years of the Build Back Better plan, and the mammoth scope of that legislation, from greening the economy to investing in childcare to increasing educational opportunities for children and adults, would more significantly transform the economy than any plutocratic philanthropy ever could. That's because there's another benefit to raising taxes on the super-rich: Their money would no longer be hoarded in the kind of offshore accounts that we learned about last week in the bombshell Pandora Papers . Instead, once it was invested in ordinary Americans, that money would circulate through local economies from hand to hand, creating jobs, spurring small business growth, and strengthening local communities through increased consumer demand. It's a much simpler system than elaborately disguising ostentatious wealth through philanthropic giving — and it has the added benefit of being better for everyone in the long haul. Sign up for notifications from Insider! Stay up to date with what you want to know. Subscribe to push notifications

Nick Hanauer Investments

3 Investments

Nick Hanauer has made 3 investments. Their latest investment was in Inspo Network as part of their Seed VC on June 6, 2018.

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Nick Hanauer Investments Activity

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Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

6/13/2018

Seed VC

Inspo Network

$5.5M

Yes

2

10/26/2007

Angel

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$99M

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10

1/1/1995

Angel

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$99M

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10

Date

6/13/2018

10/26/2007

1/1/1995

Round

Seed VC

Angel

Angel

Company

Inspo Network

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Amount

$5.5M

$99M

$99M

New?

Yes

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Co-Investors

Sources

2

10

10

Nick Hanauer Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

Nick Hanauer has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Amazon on May 09, 1997.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

5/9/1997

IPO

$991

Date

5/9/1997

Exit

IPO

Companies

Valuation

$991

Acquirer

Sources

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