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Founder of the Paul G Allen Family Foundation, American business magnate Paul Allen has long been regarded as one of the world’s most charitable people. Over his lifetime, it is estimated that he has given over $1.5 billion to various charity causes. His reputation as a business visionary is well-founded, having co-founded Microsoft in 1975 with Bill Gates. Indeed, it was Paul Allen who originally came up with the company name. After surviving a brush with cancer in the early eighties, Allen cut back on his duties with Microsoft and decided to concentrate his efforts on philanthropy and the advancement of science.

Kay Nishi, Bill Gates and Paul Allen

The Paul G Allen Family Foundation was founded in 1988 in order to administer the majority of Allen’s philanthropic contributions. As its name suggests, the Foundation is a true family affair; Paul’s sister Jody is a co-founder and current President of the organisation. The siblings share a passion for knowledge and the exploration of new ideas, in addition to a love of giving back to the community and beyond. These traits were instilled in them by their parents, Kenneth and Edna, who both possessed a love of learning.

Determined to continue the family tradition, Paul and Jody pledge charitable donations to non-profit organisations in the Pacific North West region of the United States, in addition to charity concerns elsewhere in the country and across the globe.

Paul Allen has a particular passion for the advancement of science in order to better humanity and the world in general. A number of scientific foundations and centres for learning have come into existence because of his vision and philanthropy. The Allen Institute for Brain Science was founded in 2003 in order to further advances in the fight against brain disease. Animal welfare is another area which Paul Allen feels passionate about; a passion which led to the creation of The Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at Washington State University.

The future is certainly looking bright as far as the next generation of budding scientists and philanthropists goes. Allen’s infectious enthusiasm for the pursuit of knowledge and the advancement of science have led to the creation of both the educational Science Fiction Museum in Seattle and the STARTUP Museum, located in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. As a visionary, Paul Allen is only too aware that the success of his philanthropic work is heavily dependent on the talents, knowledge and enthusiasm of future generations.