5 Fabulous Philanthropists in Tech

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The tech communities in San Francisco and Silicon Valley are often lambasted for not being altruistic enough. However, a percentage of industry members are doing big things in the world of philanthropy. Here, we spotlight five individuals who not only write big checks for local and global charities, but encourage other people an d companies to give back as well, whether it’s by implementing a giving strategy in the workplace, attending a concert or making a donation using the very same industry that is responsible for their wealth. We salute this quintet of innovators how are game changers in more ways than one.
Marc Benioff of Salesforce, INC.
photo by Dan Escobar
photo by Dan Escobar

Marc Benioff is truly a force to be reckoned with. The CEO, founder and chairman of the board of wildly successful cloud computing company Salesforce, together with his wife Lynne, donated a whopping $200 million to University of California, San Francisco for the new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco in Mission Bay and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. In addition to putting up his own cash, the San Francisco native is a board member of Salesforce Foundation, which supports local and global nonprofits through its 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy, where 1 percent each of its equity, its employees’ time and its product goes to nonprofits. In 15 years, the foundation has delivered 800,000 hours of community service, donated more than $73 million in grants and provided more than 23,000 nonprofits with its software for free. The 1-1-1 blueprint has influenced many companies, including Google, Yelp and Dropbox, to build philanthropy into their day-to-day operations. Every year, for the past six years, the foundation has also thrown the hautest concert in the city in conjunction with the behemoth Dreamforce convention. The six concerts have generated more than $36 million for the hospitals that bear Benioff’s name.

Sean Parker of The Parker Foundation

courtesy of The Parker Foundation
courtesy of The Parker Foundation

After Napster co-founder Sean Parker changed the way we obtain music, Facebook’s founding president slowly set about transforming himself into a philanthropist. The serial entrepreneur who also co-founded Plaxo, used his tech skills to co-found Causes on Facebook, which registered 180 million people to donate money and take action via the social media site; and last year he revealed his backing of a new initiative called Brigade, an online platform for civic engagement. In June, he announced a $600 million gift to establish The Parker Foundation, which aims to aggressively pursue large-scale systemic change in life sciences, global public health and civic engagement. The chairman plays an active role in developing the foundation’s programs and partnerships. For the past decade, he’s also actively supported cancer research. He grabbed headlines a few years ago when he pledged a $5 million grant to Stand Up to Cancer and the Cancer Research Institute to create the Immunotherapy Dream Team, uniting efforts to lead to immunological treatment, control and prevention of cancer. More recently, the visionary pledged $24 million to create the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford and made a $4.5 million grant to support Malaria Elimination Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco’s Global Health Group.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook 

photo from Facebook
photo from Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg the CEO and Co-Founder of the social media behemoth Facebook, deserves tons of “likes” for his benevolent acts in the fields of health, science and education. In February, he and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, made an historic $75 million donation to the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation through their donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation that was believed to be the largest, single, private gift from individuals to a public hospital in the United States, and which will go toward a new acute care and trauma center to be dedicated on Nov. 21. The current hospital campus is now named the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. In two years, the internet mogul has given the SVCF 36 million shares of Facebook stock—a $500 million gift in 2012 and another $1 billion in 2013. The tech titan who first dished out $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey public school system in 2010, has also, along with his better half, given $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation to help fight Ebola, and committed to give away half of his wealth with the signing of Warren Buffett’s and Bill Gates’s The Giving Pledge.

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen of Stanford University and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz

LAURA ARRILLAGA-ANDREESSEN FOUNDATIOn
LAURA ARRILLAGA-ANDREESSEN FOUNDATION
MARC ANDREESSEN PHOTO: ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ
MARC ANDREESSEN PHOTO: ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ

the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and his wife, philanthropy guru Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, are quite the compassionate couple. He led a group of six general partners at his venture capital company in a pact to donate at least half of their income to charity. She guides tech titans, such as Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg (and wife Priscilla Chan) and Dustin Moskovitz (and wife Cari Tuna), Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, on giving away their earnings and making their companies charitable. She created and has taught Stanford Graduate School of Business’ first course on Strategic Philanthropy since 2000, and has developed and teaches Stanford University’s first courses on philanthropy and social innovation. She’s the founder of the Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation, which operates as a philanthropic innovation lab using technology to globally scale open-source education innovations to help individuals change how they give, the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World,” the president of the Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation, which has made donations to nonprofits that aim to increase the number of women and minorities in tech, director of the Arrillaga Foundation and a board member of the Sand Hill Foundation.

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