The donation of 5,044,000 shares was revealed Monday in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were gifted last year between November 19 and November 29, according to the filing, which did not name the recipient or recipients of the shares.
Tesla’s stock was trading above $1,000 per share at the time of the donations. The donated shares were worth $5.7 billion based on the average of the highest and lowest quoted price on the date of the transaction.
The charitable giving would make Musk the second biggest US donor in 2021. Tesla’s CEO trails only Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, who gave $15 billion last year, in an annual ranking by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Previous securities filings show that Musk sold Tesla shares worth over $16 billion in the final two months of 2021, with most of the proceeds going to pay an estimated $11 billion US federal tax bill. Donated shares are not subject to capital gains tax and their value could be used as a deduction to help offset the tax bill.
Tesla did not immediately respond when asked for more details on the donated shares. Musk has established a foundation that makes grants in support of causes including pediatric research and science education, but there are few details available on its bare-bones website.
Musk, the world’s richest man, was challenged last year by the director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to make a donation that would help solve world hunger.
“If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6 billion will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” Musk wrote on Twitter in October.
The World Food Programme did respond with a plan. But there hasn’t been any word from Musk.
“There are millions of people around the world on the brink of starvation. Whether WFP receives any of this money is yet to be seen, but I am excited to hear that Elon is engaged. This is an amazing and great first step.” David Beasley, executive director of WFP, said in a statement on Tuesday.