Larry Ellison abruptly pulls rug from under philanthropy foundation after two years to ‘focus on COVID-19 fight’

Larry Ellison’s generous philanthropy is as famous as his bulging $78.2bn net worth and mahogany complexion. Well, almost.

Except in these uncertain times, the Oracle CTO and founder has struggled to know where best to focus his do-goodery.

According to news outlet Vox, two years’ work on the Larry Ellison Foundation, his London-based philanthropic vehicle, is set to come to an end as Big Red’s commander-in-chief resets his priorities for the post-pandemic epoch.

After two years of “erratic cancellations, unusual legal manoeuvres, and unmet pledges” Ellison has opted to disassemble the team and pull the organisation’s programme, the publication said.

It quotes a grant recipient who had been informed: “Larry has decided to focus on his philanthropic efforts on fighting Covid 19 which is being handled out of the US from where he runs his medical philanthropy.”

What’s remarkable is that Ellison already had a programme to fight infectious disease, but ended his support in 2005, according to Vox.

Having put so much time and effort into building up the Larry Ellison Foundation by hiring consultants and advisors and relocating offices, all that will come to an end, although some of those receiving grants feel Ellison may return to his causes once the pandemic abates.

But for now, the man who made wearing grey sweaters without a shirt the look for the over 70s is preoccupied with COVID-19.

According to reports, Ellison offered to build US president Donald Trump a database for treatment efficacy and outcomes [yeah, what happened to that? – ed]. Other sources have even suggested Ellison leveraged his deep knowledge of medicine to suggest to the leader of the free world that a malaria drug unproven in the treatment of COVID-19 could be the answer.

Wherever Ellison decides to target his philanthropy, be certain that other priorities will not change. Few outward signs suggest he is set to abandon his private $300m Hawaiian island, part of wellness project Sensei, founded with cancer doctor David Agus. According to Forbes, Ellison spent half a billion dollars turning Lanai into a “laboratory for health and wellness powered by data”.

Whether physical or financial, with Ellison it is all about wellness: principally, his own. ®

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