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EBay founder and wife donate $50 million to local foundation


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Hawaii Community Foundation has received a $50 million donation from eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar.

The gift by Omidyar and his wife, Pam, is believed to be the largest single gift by a living donor in state history, according to the nonprofit organization. It will be used over a six-year period to launch several community initiatives.

Omidyar attended Punahou School in eighth and ninth grades (1979 to 1981). His wife grew up in Hawaii Kai.

The couple moved back to Hawaii three years ago, and Omidyar has been serving on Punahou's board of trustees since May 2007.

Omidyar, who launched eBay, the online auction site, in 1995, ranked No. 40 among Forbes' 400 Richest Americans this year. He and his wife have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofit organizations.

“;Pam and I are privileged to call Hawaii home. Given the economic crisis and hardships throughout the state, we felt it was especially important to expand our philanthropy in the islands,”; Omidyar said.

The couple supports a number of organizations that include Kanu Hawaii and Ma'o Organic Farms. They also launched the Ulupono Initiative, a social investment organization aimed to improve Hawaii's sustainable future in areas of renewable energy, local food production and waste reduction.

Kelvin Taketa, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Community Foundation, said the group is grateful for the donation.

A portion will go toward projects that include statewide stabilization initiatives and ongoing construction of the sustainable K-1 Neighborhood at Punahou.