When word broke this week that George Lucas sold his Lucasfilms empire to the Disney Company for $4 BILLION (yes, I capitalized billion, how could i not?), my jaw dropped (full disclosure: Babble is a member of the Disney family of companies). I was surprised for a couple of reasons. I was shocked that he would hand off his baby to someone else, a company that he not only created but that he is fully engaged in and that he owns 100 percent off. But when I heard that $4 billion dollar price tag, you could understand his willingness to part with it. Four billion frickin’ dollars! Then I thought, what would uber-rich George Lucas do with $4 billion? Buy a country? Build a house out of solid gold? Create a real life Death Star in outer space? He could do all those things or more. But he plans on doing something way cooler and far less frivolous than any and all of those options. He is donating his windfall to education.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lucas will give the money to a foundation focused on education. “For 41 years, the majority of my time and money has been put into the company,” Lucas said in a statement on Wednesday. “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.” Lucas has been on the chair of Edutopia, which supports innovative coursework in schools, so that is one of the guesses of who will get the money, but as of yet, Lucas has not said who this huge amount of funding will go to.
Education has been an important cause for Lucas. He stated back in 2010 that:
“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 the 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.”
I have always been a huge fan of George Lucas’s work, from Star Wars to Indiana Jones to even THX 1138, but now I am not just a fan of his movies, I am a fan of his actions as a man, a very generous man at that. May the force always be with him.
Photo Source: The Walt Disney Company