Press releases from Jeffrey Epstein's foundation paint the wealthy registered sex offender as a generous donor to large American hospitals, top research universities and children and youth charities in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he owns an island.
But Epstein's largesse was much smaller than what he represented, according to an NBC News review of public records and interviews with officials at the institutions named as recipients of his gifts. In reality Epstein's contributions, whether personal or via his foundation, were a drop in the bucket compared to the donations of other wealthy philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
In press releases for the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, Epstein claims he donated to over 100 organizations after he pleaded guilty to a state charge in a deal with federal prosecutors in Florida and registered as a sex offender in 2008. From 2015 to 2017, Epstein's foundation, Gratitude America Ltd., which was first revealed by the Daily Beast, gave away $1.84 million to charities around the country, according to federal tax filings. Epstein also said he gave $30 million to Harvard University prior to his 2008 plea deal.