The Biggest Technology Charity—Silicon Valley
What’s the biggest community foundation in the country? Not New York. Not Los Angeles. Not Chicago. Not something in Florida. It’s the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Although it got started only 10 years ago, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation has assets of $8.2 billion. In 2016, the SVF made grants of $1.3 billion.
What’s accounted for their rise? The Stanford Social Innovation Review (Fall 2017) in “The Charity that Big Tech Built” noted the leadership of Emmett Carson. The board of SVF is made up of executives from Facebook, Microsoft, and eBay. In 2013, Zuckerberg donated $1 billion in Facebook shares, and in 2014, the founders of GoPro gave $500 million, while Jan Koum, the founder of WhatsApp, gave another $556 million. Similarly, in 2015, just 12 donors gave 70% of the contributions into SVF.
However, as the article noted, of the $1.3 billion in grants, $550 million came from a single grant by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.
While there are critics of SVF, there’s little doubt that this is the pattern of other community foundations. Large donors, even if there are few of them, make the biggest difference. However, as SVF continues to have a presence as a foundation, they’ll increasingly be asked for greater impact in their own community and throughout the world.