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Subway’s co-founder donates half of his company to charity. It could be worth as much as $5 billion

Peter Buck, co-founder of Subway has left a 50% stake in a charity founded by him and his late wife in 1999.

Subway’s co-founder donates half of his company to charity. It could be worth as much as $5 billion
Cover Image Source: A Subway sign hangs above one of the company's restaurants on March 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. With 34,225 restaurants in 95 countries, Subway has surpassed McDonalds as the world's largest restaurant chain. (Photo by Scott Olson/Ge

Peter Buck, the late Subway co-founder, has given 50% of the popular sandwich chain to the Peter and Lucia Buck Foundation (PCLB) after passing away in November 2021. According to Forbes, Subway could be sold for more than $10 billion, and the donation could be worth up to $5 billion or more. The Buck Foundation supports a broad range of causes, including education, journalism, medicine, and land conservation. The Buck family is one of the largest landowners in Maine, owning over 1.3 million acres of timberland through the Tall Timbers Trust. The foundation is also dedicated to improving the quality of life in Danbury, Connecticut, where the Bucks resided.

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21: A Subway restaurant is seen as the company announced a settlement over a class-action lawsuit that alleged that Subway engaged in deceptive marketing for its 6-inch and 12-inch sandwiches and served customers less food than they were paying for on October 21, 2015 in Miami, Florida. While it denies the claims, Subway said that franchisees would be required to have a measurement tool in stores to make sure loaves are 12-inches. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 21: A Subway restaurant on October 21, 2015, in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

 

Forbes estimated that the Buck family had contributed at least $580 million to the foundation ever since its inception. "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, the executive director of the PCLB. However, the representative attorney for the family declined to respond further. A copy of Buck's will, per Forbes, states that he appointed Ben Benoit, the Chief Financial Officer of PCLB, and his two sons, Christopher and William Buck, as the executors of his estate. Both William and Christopher are on the foundation’s board of directors.



 

 



 

 

Moreover, the portion of the will that was publicized also discusses his "business entities," which accounted for “a significant portion of the value of my estate,” but there were no specifications as to what would happen to them. Buck's possessions like jewelry, cars, collections of art, coins, and stamps will be equally shared and distributed between his two sons. Subway, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, is considering a sale that would increase its value by more than $10 billion. Fred DeLuca, Subway's other co-founder who died in 2015 had a net worth of $1.7 billion. If Subway is sold for $10 billion, Buck's request of $5 billion, would make this one of the biggest single donations in one year to a charitable foundation.



 

 

Subway was established in 1965 when 17-year-old DeLuca asked a family friend, Buck, for guidance on how to pay for college. Buck gave DeLuca $1,000, which he used to open "Pete's Subway Submarines," a sandwich business that bore Buck's name. The company, after being renamed Subway, expanded from a single store in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to more than 40,000 locations over the next few decades. Buck and DeLuca operated 16 submarine sandwich shops across Connecticut but soon started franchising, boosting Subway's popularity and growth all over the world. Subway has become one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, delivering customized sandwiches, wraps, and salads to its customers across more than 100 countries and 37,000 restaurants every day.



 

 

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 08: A Subway sign hangs above one of the company's restaurants on March 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. With 34,225 restaurants in 95 countries, Subway has surpassed McDonalds as the world's largest restaurant chain. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 08: A Subway sign hangs above one of the company's restaurants on March 8, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. With 34,225 restaurants in 95 countries, Subway has surpassed McDonalds as the world's largest restaurant chain. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

 

Bill Gates also donated $20 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a strategy to increase the yearly grantmaking of the foundation by 50% by 2026. Subway's stake, also eliminates the likelihood of Buck's heirs paying a substantial tax bill, if Subway is sold. Similarly, the outdoor clothing firm Patagonia's billionaire founder Yvon Chouinard announced that he was donating the company to a trust and a nonprofit group. Prior to its being sold, a $1.6 billion manufacturing company owned by a billionaire named Barre Seid was given to a political advocacy group, reports the New York Times

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