Elon Musk Has a Giant Charity. Its Money Stays Close to Home. (2024)

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Elon Musk Has a Giant Charity. Its Money Stays Close to Home. (1)

After making billions in tax-deductible donations to his philanthropy, the owner of Tesla and SpaceX gave away far less than required in some years — and what he did give often supported his own interests.

The Rocket Bar is one of several new nightlife establishments that received funds from the Musk Foundation’s initiative to revitalize downtown Brownsville, Texas.Credit...Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

By David A. Fahrenthold and Ryan Mac

Reporting from Boca Chica, Texas

Before March 2021, Elon Musk’s charitable foundation had never announced any donations to Cameron County, an impoverished region at the southern tip of Texas that is home to his SpaceX launch site and local officials who help regulate it.

Then, at 8:05 one morning that month, a SpaceX rocket blew up, showering the area with a rain of twisted metal.

The Musk Foundation began giving at 9:27 a.m. local time.

Am donating $20M to Cameron County schools & $10M to City of Brownsville for downtown revitalization. Details to follow next week.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2021

“Am donating $20M to Cameron County schools & $10M to City of Brownsville for downtown revitalization,” Mr. Musk said on Twitter.

Mr. Musk, the world’s second-richest person according to Forbes, presides over SpaceX, Tesla and other companies that are pushing the boundaries of technology, while also controlling a social media platform, now known as X, through which he promotes his often-polarizing political and social views.

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Elon Musk Has a Giant Charity. Its Money Stays Close to Home. (2024)
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