How many times do you use Google every day? Next time you're checking stocks, researching at work or cyber-stalking an ex-boyfriend, take a minute to type in The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Without them, Google may have never existed, the New York Times reported.
Thirty years ago, HIAS helped a 6-year-old Sergey Brin and his family escape anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and start a new life in the U.S. Brin went on to cofound Google and is now worth an estimated $16 billion from his online information empire.
Last week, on the anniversary of his immigration to America, Brin donated $1 million to the organization.
"I would have never had the kinds of opportunities I've had here in the Soviet Union, or even in Russia today," Mr. Brin said in an interview. "I would like to see anyone be able to achieve their dreams, and that's what this organization does."
While the amount is relatively small, Brin said it is just the beginning of his philanthropic aspirations.
Mr. Brin noted that Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, was widely criticized for not giving away enough money but is now known as one of the world's leading philanthropists. "While everyone was criticizing him, he was generating a whole lot more money for his foundation, and ultimately, when he got serious about philanthropy, he did it really well," Mr. Brin said. "I'd like to learn from that example."
He has also used his tech savvy to help out HIAS. Google has digitized their archives and Brin, who now sits on the board of HIAS, has started a social networking site for the organization to preserve the stories of Hebrew immigration to the U.S.
During the past several years, Brin and his wife have donated $30 million to charity, mostly to promote research to cure Parkinson's disease, such as to The Michael J. Fox Foundation. He said he wants to continue to build his philanthropy systematically.
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