On Wednesday, Jewish investor Michael Moritz made one of Europe’s single largest monetary gifts ever to Oxford University, funding an annual scholarship program for three years to benefit students in financial need.
Moritz earned his fortune at Sequoia Capital as an early investor in websites, such as Google, YouTube and LinkedIn, and his gift of £75 million is said to be one of the five largest philanthropic grants ever made in Great Britain.
This fall, the first one hundred scholarships will be given to Oxford students who come from families with annual incomes less than £16,000 – the threshold to qualify for free meals at the university. In Oxford’s student body, one in 10 undergraduates come from families with incomes below that level.
An Oxford graduate, Moritz said he was motivated to give the monetary grant in order to make possible “the dreams and aspirations of individuals determined to excel, while also safeguarding the academic excellence on which Oxford’s global reputation stands,” as reported by the UK’s Daily Mail.
The hardships of his German-Jewish parents also inspired Moritz, whose father also studied at Oxford and was able to earn his PhD because of financial assistance.
“My father was plucked as a teenager from Nazi Germany and was able to attend a very good school in London entirely on scholarship,” Moritz said.
According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Moritz’s net worth is estimated at £1.08 billion. He currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, American writer Harriet Heyman, and two children.
In May, Moritz stepped down from his daily executive role at Sequoia Capital to become its chairman, as he revealed that he is suffering from a rare medical condition that could become debilitating.