Forbes recently compiled a list of the nation's 185 wealthiest families (those who are worth billions of dollars) and SFGate teased out the seven who live in the Bay Area. Just who are these local dynasties and what do they have to do with you?
Here they are, in order of richest and with a brief explanation of why you might have heard of them/what they do for you (hint: Rich people LOVE owning baseball teams):
Charles and Rupert Johnson:
Based in San Mateo, worth $14 billion. Charles and Rupert are brothers and businessmen who got rich off mutual funds. Charles Johnson also is the principal owner of the SF Giants.
The Fisher family:
Based in SF, worth $10.2 billion. Donald and Doris Fisher started The Gap. They also have a penchant for modern art; you might've also seen their impressive collection, one that fills an entire section of the SFMOMA. Their son, John Fisher is the current majority owner of the Oakland A's and also has stakes in the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Bechtel family
Based in SF, worth $8 billion. Bechtel is the country's largest construction/engineering company, and is one of the main contractors for the U.S. Dept. of Defense. They're often mentioned on the news during/after wars we've been involved with.
The Hewlett family:
Based in Palo Alto, worth $2.6 billion. You know, they make that printer/copy/fax machine in your office.
The de Young family
Based in SF, worth $2.4 billion. M.H. de Young founded newspapers, including The Chronicle, back in the 1880s. Later, his family expanded their wealth in television broadcasting (they founded KRON!). Oh yeah, there's that museum named after them, too.
The Haas family
Based in SF, worth $1.6 billion. Walter A. Haas once was the owner of the Oakland A's – he bought the team in 1980 to prevent it from moving to Denver, even though he once called baseball boring. You might also hear his name mentioned during PBS and NPR credits – he was a noted philanthropist and started a charitable foundation. But mostly, you probably know the Haas family as the people who bring you Levi's jeans.
The Shorenstein family
Based in SF, worth $1.2 billion. Another Walter in this group, and another Walter who stopped a Bay Area baseball team from moving (what's up with that?). In 1993, he helped some investors stop the Giants from heading to Florida. But people with money know the Shorensteins because of their mass wealth accumulated from owning hundreds of buildings and thousands of square feet of office spaces around the country. Maybe you even work in one of those buildings?
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