RealTime IT News

EBay Founder Gives Back to School, World

The founder of online auction giant eBay and his wife have given a $100 million gift to Tufts University's endowment fund.

Pierre and Pam Omidyar's contribution to their alma mater is the largest in the school's history and will be used to invest in "international microfinance initiatives."

Microfinance loans are made to help the poor launch entrepreneurial pursuits. The average is $600, but can be as little as $40.

"By engaging Tufts as an institutional investor in microfinance initiatives, our hope is that the microfinance industry can better meet the demand for financial services among the world's poor, while also demonstrating its potential commercial viability to a wider institutional investor audience," Pierre Omidyar said in a statement.

An organization controlled by a Board of Trustees will have financial responsibility for the funds.

Half the earnings from the fund will be reinvested in microfinance programs; the other half will support Tufts programs for faculty, financial aid, debt forgiveness for graduates pursuing careers in public service, and scholarships, the school said.

Pierre Omidyar earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from Tufts in 1988. Pam Omidyar received her bachelor's degree in biology from the Boston-area school the following year.