George Lucas, who just finalized a deal to sell his company LucasFilm, has announced that he will be putting the vast majority of the $4.3 billion dollars from the sale into a foundation which will focus on education according to the Hollywood Reporter. Lucas is the sole shareholder of LucasFilm so the entire sum will go to him and he is free to do what he wants with all of it. This donation will put him on par with Bill Gates in terms of his charitable giving.
A spokesman for LucasFilms told the Hollywood Reporter:
“George Lucas has expressed his intention, in the event the deal closes, to donate the majority of the proceeds to his philanthropic endeavors.”
It is not clear if Lucas will put the money into one of his existing charities or if he will start a new one to deal with new educational issues that he wants to tackle. Lucas is currently the chairman of Edutopia, which is part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Edutopia was the institution that Lucas used to make a $175 million donation to his alma mater USC in 2006. He has also given to many other causes over the years including the Film Foundation, Stand Up to Cancer and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Lucas said in a statement released Wednesday:
“For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company. As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy.”
A spokesman for LucasFilms said:
“[This] announcement continues a commitment that Lucas made in 2010 to The Giving Pledge, where he stated, ‘I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future — and the first step begins with social, emotional and intellectual tools we provide to our children. As humans, our greatest tool for survival is our ability to think and to adapt — as educators, storytellers and communicators, our responsibility is to continue to do so.’”
LucasFilms is the owner of the Star Wars franchise, which is the most successful movie franchise in history.