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.

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