Poker Pro Igor Kurganov Helping Elon Musk Distribute $5.7bn to Charity

  • Igor Kurganov is a co-founder of REG, an organization that focuses on “effective altruism”
  • Elon Musk gifted $5.7bn worth of Tesla shares to charity last November
  • There have been no details yet regarding the recipients of the donation
  • Kurganov reportedly has been working with groups that have received donations from Musk
  • The Russian poker pro has earned over $18.7m in live tournaments
Elon Musk on the cover of Newsweek
Bloomberg has reported that poker professional Igor Kurganov is potentially working with Elon Musk to distribute a charitable donation worth $5.7bn. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A staggering donation

Poker professional Igor Kurganov is reportedly working with Elon Musk to help the world’s richest person distribute $5.7bn worth of charitable donations. Kurganov was a founder of Raising for Effective Giving (REG) alongside his long-term partner Liv Boeree in 2014. The main focus of REG is “effective altruism,” as it aims to take the most cost-effective approach to distribute charitable donations.

donating over five million Tesla shares to charity

Elon Musk announced in November that he was donating over five million Tesla shares to charity. There was a lot of speculation as to the reasoning behind the gift, worth about $5.7bn. Some analysts believe that the donation is related to a $10bn tax bill; a major charitable donation could significantly reduce the amount Musk owes.

The link to Igor Kurganov

It is now clear that Musk gifted the Tesla stock to charity between November 19 and November 29, one of the biggest philanthropic donations in history. The recipient of the money, however, remains unclear. An SEC filing on Monday shed little light on the matter. It does not name the recipient and it lists an unidentified trust as being part of the transaction.

Elon Musk has made significant charitable donations in the past through his Musk Foundation, including eight-figure grants to the local and city school systems near his spaceport in South Texas, as well as millions to those researching COVID-19.

Kurganov could be helping to distribute Musk’s $5.7bn donation

Bloomberg reported that a number of people and organizations who had received grants of Musk’s money in recent years had been worked with Kurganov as their main point of contact. It is unclear if this is an independent position or if Kurganov is carrying out the work as part of REG. His role is reportedly to stay in touch with the grantees and consider proposals. Bloomberg believes that Kurganov could be helping to distribute Musk’s $5.7bn donation.

Focusing on philanthropy

Since starting in 2014, REG has raised nearly $20m for charity. Fellow poker players Philipp Gruissem and Liv Boeree were also founders of REG. One of the high-profile contributions came in its founding year, when Martin Jacobson won the WSOP Main Event and contributed $250,000 of the $10m prize to REG. Many poker players contribute 2% of their winnings to the foundation.

Kurganov captured his one and only WSOP bracelet in 2017 alongside his partner Liv Boeree in the $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold’em Championship. They donated half of the $273,964 prize money to REG.

Igor Kurganov has had a successful career as a professional poker player. His live tournament winnings are more than $18.7m, topping the list of Russian poker player earnings. Kurganov and Boeree were both PokerStars ambassadors, but split from the online poker room in 2019.