Dr. Peter Buck made a fortune with the sandwich shop he opened in 1965, which would later become a massive franchise with over 37,000 locations.
When he died last year at the age of 90, Dr. Buck left 50% of Subway ownership to his two sons, but the other 50% is going to charity, according to a new announcement from his estate.
Dr. Buck and his wife are founders of the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation (PCLB), which funds various causes, including education, conservation, and medicine.
The gift, estimated to be around $5 billion, marks the latest in hefty philanthropic donations from billionaire entrepreneurs.
Last year, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard announced that he would transfer his $3 billion ownership of the company to a special trust and a nonprofit organization to protect undeveloped land. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg have all pledged to give away most of their fortunes to charitable organizations.
The Subway story
Dr. Paul Buck’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1965 when a 17-year-old family friend named Fred DeLuca asked him for advice on paying his college tuition. Dr. Buck, a nuclear physicist, suggested he open up a submarine sandwich shop, investing $1,000 in the venture.
It was the best investment he ever made. The two went on to form a business partnership that would ultimately lead to the Subway chain we all know so well.
Dr. Buck and his late wife founded PCLB as a private family foundation to manage their family’s philanthropic initiatives. The charity’s mission is: “giving motivated people the tools they need to help themselves.”
Sons will manage the charity
Dr. Buck’s generous 50% donation isn’t entirely leaving the family.
A copy of the will, obtained by Forbes, shows that Dr. Buck made his two sons, Christopher and William Buck, along with Ben Benoit, the Chief Financial Officer of PCLB, the executors of his estate. Christopher and William are on the PCLB’s board of directors.
The will leaves all of Dr. Buck’s personal possessions to his two sons, but it also says that 50% of Subway goes to PLCB.
In a recent story in the Wall Street Journal about the possible sale of Subway, analysts valued the company at around $10 billion. That would make Dr. Buck’s contribution to charity one of the largest single-year contributions ever.
“This gift will allow the Foundation to greatly expand its philanthropic endeavors and impact many more lives, especially our work to create educational opportunities for all students, work Dr. Buck cared so deeply about,” said Carrie Schindele, Executive Director of PCLB.