Philanthropy Personified: Salman Khan, Founder of Khan Academy

Salman Khan, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Khan Academy, began his journey in the education industry as a tutor for his cousin, Nadia. Now, his business helps more than 10 million international students each month.

Born in Louisiana, Khan is a second-generation immigrant from a Bengali family. Khan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and then Harvard for his MBA before becoming an investment analyst for a hedge fund. As a math expert, Khan began to tutor his younger cousin Nadia in 2004. In 2005 and 2006, he began developing software to help not just Nadia but his other cousins who needed help.

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By 2009, his friends had heard how successful he was as a tutor and recommended that he begin to make YouTube videos about educational topics to help children for free. Once his videos hit 100,000 views, he quit his day job, and that's how Khan Academy was born.

Khan Academy is now sponsored by Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Khan's passion isn't for making money but for helping those who want to learn. For instance, Khan Academy provides free SAT prep courses for millions of students yearly, and they’re open to any student who wishes to use them. Additionally, Khan Academy offers tutoring for numerous subjects with personalized programs that fill the gaps in modern education.

For Khan, teaching is a mission that goes beyond just an entrepreneurial venture. He said in an interview with Finding Mastery that his secret to success is treating everyone like they're a childhood friend and being open to feedback from the right people.

"I'm doing what I'm doing because I want the whole world to change," Khan told Finding Mastery. "I want the people who have access to school, for that school to be that much better and personalized, and actually for kids not to fall through the cracks and all the associated stress and mental health issues and self-esteem issues."