Billionaire Sean Parker
Sean Parker is vast. He contains multitudes. He founded Napster, which let twelve-year-old us download so much Weird Al that we’re still sorting it out. He also helped found Facebook—which, you know, is how all the cool mothers-in-law hassle us about quitting smoking. Thanks Sean!
The VC also loves to throw his money around, pitching tens of thousands into the failed Proposition L, which the Bay Guardian called a “primal scream from motorists,” and $10 million on a Big Sur steampunk wedding that resulted in a $2.5 million fine from the California Coastal Commission for disturbing the environmentally sensitive area. Also, he didn’t even invite us to it.
So like we said, multitudes. But as much as we love to snark, Parker makes it so damn hard today. He’s announced a $24 million donation to Stanford to cure allergies. As Parker told the Chron, ““It’s not just enough to come up with slightly better incremental improvements on the kind of treatments that are out there. The goal is actually to achieve a cure.” It’s believed to be the largest single donation to allergy research ever.
We’re not talking so much about hay fever as life-threatening conditions. Parker himself has been hospitalized 14 times in the past four years for allergic reactions—he’s allergic to peanuts, some other legumes, tree nuts, and shellfish. The new center, named after Parker, will be headed by Stanford associate professor Kari Nadeau, and Parker is planning to be among the first patients to undergo clinical trials.
Sounds as if Parker has honed a new, smarter approach to his philanthropy. Maybe we are warming up to him after all. Speaking of which, does anybody know if he wants to buy a magazine? Sean Parker's San Francisco magazine has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Of course, we all know how well it works out when Facebook bazillionaires buy print magazines. Isn't it about time for us to become a vertically integrated digital media company?