Back in 2004 Aubrey Chernick sold his Candle software company to IBM for the whopping tune of $641 million. Since then he’s managed to grow his fortune to more than $1.2 billion, but not without giving a huge amount to charity in the process. Last year at the 2015 Blues Hollywood Gala, Children Uniting Nations (CUN) rewarded Chernick with a Lifetime Legacy Award for his contributions to their organization. The award ceremony coincided with the launch of CUN 2.0 – a celebrity mentorship program that aims to educate youth on technology, music, and arts. They say some of the best entrepreneurs are also some of the greatest philanthropists, and it certainly is easy to draw that conclusion from this situation as well.
Contributions to Los Angeles Schools
The staff at CUN elected Aubrey Chernick as the winner of their award based on his longstanding support of the organization. His contributions to the Great Los Angeles area, in which CUN operates, have included donations and service to foster children and at-risk youth, as well as investments that have sought to improve education throughout the community.
Aubrey and his wife Joyce have both been committed to charity for more than two decades, having pledged millions to dozens of different organizations and startups. Because of his contributions to schools in the L.A. area, literally hundreds of thousands of vulnerable young people will be able to access the knowledge and resources needed to achieve their goals through entrepreneurship, technology, science, math, and arts.
Giving Back to Technology Through Crowdfunding
Aside from contributions to education, Chernick’s involvement in the crowdfunding industry, while not directly related to charity, has been charitable in and of itself, as his investment firm has poured more than $5 million into other crowdfunding startups such as StartEngine. Investing in crowdfunding is another way for Aubrey to give back to the tech community that helped him earn his fortune.
He also recently launched NextGen Crowdfunding, which gives non accredited investors the opportunity to obtain a share of a startup’s equity in exchange for an agreed upon investment. This is a feature that was previously not allowed before the SEC’s recently introduced rules for crowdfunding allowed non accredited investors to begin gaining company equity through crowdfunding investments/donations.
Funding the Underdogs and Helping Investors
Crowdfunding takes the strict bureaucracy out of financing and makes eligibility more about the value of the idea and the people backing it. Many investors have begun realizing that a credit score can’t tell you who is the most brilliant inventor or entrepreneur, and that things like business plans, prototypes, pitches, and other conceptual aspects are far more important when gauging the potential of a startup and the team behind it. Thus, in a way, Aubrey Chernick has been much like a modern day Robin Hood, giving humble entrepreneurs a way to climb the ladder fast, while also helping new investors multiply their fortunes through investing in startups that are likely to succeed.