Utah billionaire pens brutally honest letter to president of Mormon church about why he's leaving
Though there are a handful of billionaires whose names we know from their frequent media coverage, there are plenty of ultra-wealthy folks who mostly live under the radar. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact—for better or for worse. One example is Jeff T. Green, the CEO and chairman of The Trade Desk, who announced he wants to officially revoke his membership from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (otherwise known as the Mormon church) and speak out against the church.
As reported by the Associated Press, the Utah billionaire is now rebuking the church over LGBTQ+ issues, writing in a letter to the president of the church: "While most members are good people trying to do right, I believe the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world.” To counteract that harm, Green announced he is donating $600,000 to an LGBTQ+ organization in the state, Equality Utah. And in terms of money, that’s not all.
"I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights," Green wrote to church president Russell Nelson. Green also criticized the way the church handles money given from constituents, noting that it’s often “poor” people who donate and believe the church is doing the will of Jesus. He added that church leadership is “not honest” about its history, financial dealings, or advocacy efforts.
Eleven family members plus a family friend resigned from the church alongside Green. Green previously promised to donate 90% of his wealth—which is estimated to be about $5 billion—at or before his death, starting with the funds going to the Equality Utah group.
Of the $600,000 donation, Green explained that almost half of the money will go toward a scholarship to support LGBTQ+ students, including anyone who might want or need to leave Brigham Young University, where the school has a ban on same-sex behavior. You might remember our coverage of a Pride march put on by students at Brigham Young this past summer. March organizers, you might recall, stayed anonymous so they wouldn’t become targets of punishment or discrimination.
“We made this investment sizable and publicly to send a message that Equality Utah isn’t going anywhere,” Green wrote in part.
In reference to Green’s donation, Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams wrote to NBC News in an email explaining in part: "The two most important elements of our success has been the support of allies and the willingness of state and religious leaders to engage with us.” He went on to say that organizations don’t always agree, but that common ground is where great things can happen. He added, “Jeff’s financial support will ensure that we will remain a prominent force in Utah politics for years to come."
If you’re curious, you can hear Green talk about his company and business perspectives below.
Jeff Green explains why the future of digital advertising is brighter before | Programmatic I/O 2017www.youtube.com
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