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Pierre Omidyar Bucks Traditional Philanthropy

“I’ve always found it delightful to push people’s conventional thinking, to be a little contrarian, and to get folks to rethink how they think about the world,” says Pierre Omidyar.

Omidyar’s delight has been the world’s gain: His 1995 start-up, eBay, revolutionized the way people connect with each other and with products they want and need. For Omidyar and his wife, Pam, overnight success through eBay’s 1998 IPO brought with it a pressing sense of responsibility to put their money to good use.

Today, the young couple is making good on that responsibility by founding a number of philanthropic organizations, including their foundation-like Omidyar Network, and nonprofits Humanity United and HopeLab. Maintaining an open mind, the Omidyars invest in both nonprofits and for-profits to achieve social impact, believing that both can do a world of good.

As Omidyar looks to fund innovative ideas and organization, he is committed to investing in human capital to develop leaders who can address society’s increasingly complex challenges. Meanwhile, he’s laying down a compelling set of footprints in which other thinkers, innovators, and philanthropists may follow.

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