Meet the billionaires bankrolling Joe Biden's 2020 campaign

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File PhotoJoe Biden has 94 billionaire backers, according to Forbes.
  • At least 134 billionaires or their spouses have donated to former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, per a Forbes analysis of federal campaign records from September.
  • The billionaires behind Netflix, SlimFast, Hyatt hotels, LinkedIn, and Star Wars all donated various amounts to Biden’s election bid.
  • While it’s true that Estée Lauder heir Ronald Lauder gave $US200,000 to President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, his wife Jo Carole Lauder donated to Biden’s.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Joe Biden might not be a billionaire like his opponent, but he sure is popular among members of the three-comma club.

The former vice president has raked in donations from at least 134 billionaires, including those behind Netflix, Hyatt hotels, DreamWorks studios, and LinkedIn, per a Forbes analysis of federal campaign records and the magazine’s own Billionaires List from September.

Unlike President Trump’s billionaire backers, several of Biden’s donors gave only the $US2,800 maximum allowed per donor to a campaign committee, a contrast with Trump donors who have largely pumped extra funds into super PACs or advertising. However, over the course of his campaign, Biden has had a greater number of billionaires or their spouses donate directly to his campaign than the president, who has only landed 101 billionaire donors despite fundraising for his reelection since 2017.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is also no stranger to the three-comma club. Before withdrawing from the race in December, Harris attracted donations from more billionaires than anyone else during the presidential primaries.

Many billionaires have also thrown their support behind the Biden Victory Fund committee, which caps donations at $US620,600, according to the Washington Post. Those donations are split between the “campaign, the party, and 26 state parties.”

Keep reading to learn more about some of Biden’s most notable billionaire backers, listed in no particular order.


Philanthropist Connie Ballmer, wife of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, donated $US2,800.

AP/Evan VucciSteve Ballmer and Connie Ballmer.

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US69.6 billion (attributed to Steve Ballmer)

Source of wealth: Microsoft, Los Angeles Clippers

Connie Ballmer, a former public relations executive turned philanthropist, leads her family foundation’s work with impoverished children, according to her biography on the Ballmer Group’s website.

Steve Ballmer made the couple’s fortune after dropping out of Stanford’s MBA program to become Microsoft’s 30th employee,Forbes reports. Ballmer rose to become the software giant’s CEO in 2000, a post he held for 14 years. The couple also owns the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team, per Forbes.


Jacqueline Mars, a part-owner of the world’s largest candymaker, gave $US500.

Ron Sachs – Pool via Getty Images

Amount donated: $US500

Net worth: $US28.9 billion

Source of wealth: Mars, Inc.

Jacqueline Mars, 80, is the granddaughter of Mars, Inc. founder Frank Mars, who started the candy giant from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington, in 1911.

The company produces Hershey’s, Snickers, Twix bars, and M&Ms, in addition to several brands of pet food, according to its website. Mars shares ownership of the privately held candymaker with her brother, John Mars, and her nieces, per Forbes. She is also a noted philanthropist and serves on the board of the National Archives.


Philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs donated only $US2,800 directly to Biden’s campaign but has spent millions on other efforts that support the former vice president’s bid.

Steve Jennings / Stringer / Getty Images

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US18.5 billion

Source of wealth: Apple

Laurene Powell Jobs is a formidable presence in the investing world, and will likely be one in the 2020 election, too. The 56-year-old billionaire used the fortune she inherited after the death of her husband, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, in 2011 to expand her own businesses and philanthropy, Business Insider previously reported.

Jobs is a long-time Democratic donor, having backed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid by donating $US2 million to her super PAC and hosting a $US200,000-a-plate fundraiser that raised over $US4 million, CNN reported.

Per FEC records, Jobs donated $US610,600 to the Biden Victory Fund in June 2020.

Outside of her donations to Biden’s campaign, Jobs has also poured millions into voter registration programs supporting the former vice president, Vox’s Theodore Schleifer reported.


Former Google executive Eric Schmidt gave $US2,800.

Richard Brian/Reuters

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US16.2 billion

Source of wealth: Google parent Alphabet

Eric Schmidt, 65, served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011 and was on the board of its parent company Alphabet until June 2019, per Forbes.

In July, Schmidt donated $US1,006,375 to the FF PAC, per FEC records. That would be pro-Biden super PAC Future Forward USA, according to Open Secrets.


Homebuilding mogul Eli Broad donated $US5,600.

AP

Amount donated: $US5,600

Net worth: $US6.9 billion

Source of wealth: home builder Kaufman & Broad

The son of Lithuanian immigrants, 86-year-old billionaire Eli Broad built his fortune after founding home builder Kaufman & Broad, per Forbes. The firm became one of the largest homebuilding companies in the country.

Broad is also a prominent philanthropist, sponsoring several education-focused organisations through his two foundations and opening a museum in Los Angeles to share his collection of contemporary art with the public, per Forbes.

Broad has also donated $US150,000 to the Biden Action Fund, per FEC records. Per Forbes, he and wife Edythe have donated a total of $US158,400 to Biden.


Hedge-fund manager David Siegel donated $US2,800.

Misha Friedman/Getty Images

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US6.5 billion

Source of wealth: hedge fund Two Sigma Investments

David Siegel, 58, built his fortune after founding data-driven hedge fund Two Sigma Investments, per Forbes. Before entering finance, Siegel founded an internet startup.


Investor and philanthropist Mellody Hobson, the wife of Star Wars billionaire George Lucas, gave $US2,800.

REUTERS/Vincent KesslerMelody Hobson and George Lucas at Cannes Film Festival in May 2008.

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US5.5 billion (attributed to George Lucas)

Source of wealth: Star Wars producer Lucasfilm, investing

Mellody Hobson is the co-CEO and president of Chicago-based investment fund Ariel Investments. Hobson is also a noted philanthropist, having received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy alongside her husband, filmmaker George Lucas, in 2019. Hobson and Lucas operate a charitable family foundation that has over $US1 billion in assets and completely funded The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, which is still under construction, per Forbes.

Hobson has donated $US307,800 to the Biden Action Fund, per FEC records. Forbes reports that the duo has funneled $US729,600 towards Biden.


Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings donated $US2,800.

Getty

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US5 billion

Source of wealth: Netflix

Reed Hastings, 59, cofounded Netflix in 1995 with Marc Randolph – a former employee of Hastings’ first company, Pure Software – as a by-mail DVD rental service before transitioning it to streaming and content creation. Hastings’ fortune comes from his 1.3% stake in Netflix, but he has said he plans to give most of it away as a signatory of the Giving Pledge, according to Forbes.


Philanthropist Jo Carole Lauder, wife of Trump donor and Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder, donated $US5,600 to Biden’s campaign.

REUTERS/Joshua RobertsJo Carole Lauder and her husband, Estée Lauder heir Ronald Lauder.

Amount donated: $US5,600

Net worth: $US4.9 billion (attributed to Ronald Lauder)

Source of wealth: cosmetics maker Estée Lauder

Jo Carole Lauder is a philanthropist focusing on civics and the arts, having supported MoMA and Mount Sinai Medical Centre, according to the Carnegie Foundation.

Lauder’s husband, Ronald Lauder, inherited much of the couple’s fortune in the form of a stake in the eponymous cosmetics company founded by his mother, Estée Lauder.

Jo Carole does not share her husband’s political convictions, however. Ronald Lauder described himself as a “lifelong Republican” to The New York Times in December 2019, and donated $US200,000 to President Trump’s 2020 presidential bid.

Per FEC filings, Jo Carole has donated $US50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund – meaning that, according to Forbes, she’s donated a total of $US55,600 to Biden. And a FEC filing from October 1 appears to show another $US2,800 earmarked for the Biden Victory Fund.


Meg Whitman, former CEO of short-lived Quibi — and once a Republican — donated $US2,800.

AP

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US5 billion

Source of wealth: eBay

Meg Whitman was most recently CEO of short-lived short-form video platform Quibi, but she made most of her wealth at her previous gig leading eBay. Whitman was the auction site’s CEO from 1998 to 2008, after which she was CEO of Hewlett-Packard from 2011 to 2015, Business Insider previously reported.

Whitman, 63, also once aspired to a career in politics. She was the Republican nominee in the 2010 California gubernatorial race but was defeated by Jerry Brown.

Per FEC filings, Whitman has donated a total of $US505,600 to the Biden Victory Fund, leading to a grand total of $US508,400 in donations to Biden, according to Forbes.


Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw donated $US5,600.

REUTERS/Joshua RobertsKate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg.

Amount donated: $US5,600

Net worth: $US3.7 billion (attributed to Spielberg; Capshaw’s individual net worth is not publicly available)

Source of wealth: DreamWorks

Steven Spielberg made much of his multibillion-dollar fortune from DreamWorks, the production studio he cofounded with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. Most recently, the trio sold the studio’s animation business to NBC Universal for $US3.8 billion in April 2016, The New York Times reported. The 73-year-old Academy Award-winning director behind films including “Jaws,” “Jurassic Park,” “Indiana Jones,” and “Schindler’s List” not only profits from royalties from his films, but also gets a kickback from every ticket sold to Universal theme parks thanks to the rides based off of his films, per Forbes.

Spielberg’s wife, actress Kate Capshaw, is wealthy in her own right. Capshaw has starred in films including “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” “Black Rain,” “Dreamscape,” and “SpaceCamp,” per IMDB.

Per FEC filings, Spielberg has contributed $US250,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, and Capshaw has contributed the same. That’s a total of $US505,600, according to Forbes.


Hollywood entertainment power player David Geffen also donated $US5,600.

AP Photo/Jason DeCrow

Amount donated: $US5,600

Net worth: $US8.7 billion

Source of wealth: DreamWorks

David Geffen, 77, cofounded DreamWorks alongside Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg and ran its animation division until its April 2016 sale to NBC Universal, per The New York Times. Geffen has also founded several record labels, including Asylum Records and Geffen Records, according to Forbes.


Several Hyatt Hotel heirs have contributed to Biden’s campaign.

Chip Somodevilla/GettyUS Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (right) introduces Vice President Joe Biden.

Amounts donated: $US5,600 (Penny Pritzker), $US5,600 (John Pritzker), $US8,400 (Daniel and Karen Pritzker)

Net Worth: $US2.7 billion (Penny Pritzker), $US2.5 billion (John Pritzker), $US2.4 billion (Daniel and Karen Pritzker)

Source of wealth: Hyatt Hotels

The Pritzkers are one of the richest families in America, with a combined net worth of $US26.6 billion, Business Insider previously reported. Nine members of the family appeared on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people in America in 2019 alone. The family fortune can be traced back to 1957 when Jay Pritzker, then a lawyer based in Chicago, bought a motel near the Los Angeles airport after noticing the need for more conveniently located high-quality rooms during a business trip there, per Business Insider.

Despite the family’s fortune originating in hospitality, several members have gone into politics instead. Penny Pritzker was President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce from 2013 to 2017 and JB Pritzker is the current governor of Illinois, according to Forbes. John Pritzker sold his stake in the family business to launch his own hotel chain that was later acquired by Hyatt, while Daniel Pritzker is a filmmaker, per Forbes.

Penny was recently recognised by the Biden campaign for raising at least $US100,000.


New York Giants Treasurer Jonathan Tisch donated over $US11,000.

Mark Sagliocco / Getty Images

Amount donated: $US11,200

Net worth: $US1.5 billion

Source of wealth: Loews Corporation, New York Giants

Jonathan Tisch, 66, inherited a stake in the Loews Corporation, the insurance and drilling conglomerate founded by his father, Bob Tisch, and uncle, Laurence Tisch, in 1946, per Forbes. Jonathan currently serves as the CEO of Loews Hotels & Co. and is the treasurer of the New York Giants, the NFL team co-owned by his brother Steve Tisch, according to the Giants’website.

Tisch has also donated $US50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, per FEC filings. That’s a total of $US61,200, according to Forbes.


Judith Dimon, wife of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, gave $US2,800.

REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstJudith and Jamie Dimon.

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US1.4 billion (attributed to Jamie Dimon)

Source of wealth: JPMorgan Chase

Judith Dimon is a graduate of Harvard Business School and former American Express employee, according to Heavy. Her husband Jamie Dimon is one of only a handful of billionaires in banking, making much of the couple’s fortune cofounding Citigroup and later becoming the CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

Biden is reportedly considering appointing Jamie Dimon to a top position at the Treasury Department if he is elected, Business Insider previously reported.


SlimFast creator S. Daniel Abraham gave millions to Hillary Clinton, but only $US2,800 to Biden in 2020.

Diana Vucane / Shutterstock.comSlimFast bottles on sale in London in 2019.

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US2 billion

Source of wealth: SlimFast

S. Daniel Abraham, 95, invented weight-loss plan SlimFast in 1976, according to Forbes. The drink became a phenomenon, eventually allowing Abraham to sell the brand to Unilever (the company that also owns Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Dove soap, Lipton tea) in 2000 for $US2.3 billion. Four years later, Unilever sold SlimFast to Texas-based private equity firm Kainos Capital, Reuters reported. The brand’s current owner, global nutrition group Glanbia, eventually purchased SlimFast in 2018.

Instead of investing it like other billionaires, Abraham has kept much of his fortune in cash and put it into trusts for his four daughters, according to Page Six. A family feud erupted over the trusts in 2016,Page Six reported at the time.

Abraham was a major donor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, giving $US3 million, per Forbes.According to Forbes, he’s given $US363,400 total to Biden this election.


LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman gave over $US1 million to a pro-Biden super PAC.

Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Amount donated: $US2,800 to Biden’s campaign, $US1.5 million to pro-Biden super PAC Unite The Country

Net worth: $US2 billion

Source of wealth: LinkedIn

Reid Hoffman, 52, cofounded career-oriented social media network LinkedIn in 2002, eventually profiting from its 2016 sale to Microsoft for $US26.2 billion, Business Insider previously reported.

Hoffman is also famously a member of the “PayPal Mafia,” a group of early PayPal employees that also includes Elon Musk and Peter Thiel that went on to found other, enormously successful Silicon Valley startups.

Hoffman has also raised at least $US100,000 for the Biden campaign. As Business Insider previously reported, Hoffman has invested heavily in “disrupting” the 2020 campaign – and fundraising to unseat President Trump.


Real estate billionaire Jorge Perez donated $US5,600.

Alan Diaz/Associated PressJorge Perez.

Amount donated: $US5,600

Net worth: $US1.7 billion

Source of wealth: real-estate developer Related Group

Perez, 70, cofounded condo developer Related Group, which built New York’s Hudson Yards, with fellow billionaire Stephen Ross, Business Insider previously reported.

Ross and Perez don’t share the same political values, however. Ross hosted a fundraiser for President Trump in 2019 that raised $US12 million, sparking a boycott of several brands tied to Ross’ Related Companies, including Equinox and Blink gyms and SoulCycle.


Aileen Roberts, the wife of Comcast and NBC Universal CEO Brian Roberts, donated $US2,800.

(Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)Aileen Roberts and her husband, Comcast and NBC Universal CEO Brian Roberts.

Amount donated: $US2,800

Net worth: $US1.7 billion (attributed to Brian Roberts)

Source of wealth: Comcast

Aileen Kennedy Roberts is a philanthropist who serves on the board of Philadelphia art museum the Barnes Foundation and runs a family foundation with her husband Brian. She has been married to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts since 1985, per The Los Angeles Times.

Aileen has also donated $US50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, leading to a grand total of $US52,800, according to Forbes.


KIND bar billionaire Daniel Lubetzky and his wife Michelle donated $US8,400.

KIND Healthy SnacksDaniel Lubetzky.

Amount donated: $US8,400

Net worth: $US1.2 billion

Source of wealth: KIND Healthy Snacks

Daniel Lubetzky, 51, was inspired to create the first KIND bar after trying a snack bar made with whole fruits and nuts while on a business trip in Australia, according to Forbes. KIND Healthy Snacks has sold an estimated two billion all-natural bars since 2004, even attracting an investment from Snickers and M&M’s maker Mars at a valuation of $US4 billion in 2017,The New York Times reported.

Lubetzky and his wife Michelle have four children and live in New York City, per Forbes.

Daniel has donated $US78,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, per FEC filings. That’s a total of $US89,200 in contributions from the duo,according to Forbes.


Major Democratic donor George Soros gave $US505,600 to Biden’s joint fundraising committee in May.

Associated PressSoros in June 2019.

Amount donated: $US505,600

Net worth: $US8.6 billion

Source of wealth: Hedge funds

Soros, a former hedge fund manager and favourite target of right-wing conspiracy theorists, is now a full-time philanthropist, Business Insider previously reported. The 90-year-old billionaire is also one of the Democrats’ biggest donors, having given $US8 million to various groups during the 2020 election cycle, per Forbes.


Billionaire investor Marc Lasry has given $US2,800 — and has helped fundraise at least $US100,000.

Lucas Jackson/ReutersMarc Lasry, an American billionaire businessman and co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenue Capital Group speaks during a Reuters investment summit in New York City, U.S., November 4, 2019.

Amount donated:
$US2,800

Net worth:
$US1.8 billion

Source of wealth: Hedge funds

Lasry cofounded Avenue Capital Management in 1995, per Forbes. Lasry was a top Clinton donor in 2016, and has been recognised by the Biden campaign for helping fundraise at least $US100,000. According to Forbes, Lasry has contributed $US43,900 total to Biden.

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