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Tech Entrepreneurs Give Now While Building Businesses

Posted on April 20, 2015 by Mark Neithercut

This article from The Chronicle of Philanthropy provides some interesting insights into recent trends in giving among major Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.  The current generation of major donors from the tech area are eager to start their philanthropic efforts early in life—even while they are still building their businesses.  Their school of thought shows donors to be more focused, more involved and looking for results now.  This is a far different posture from days gone by when funders might write a check and say, “see me in a year and tell me how you did.”

A few highlights from the article:

“What I do think is a uniquely Silicon Valley dynamic is that they want to be intricately involved in understanding the business of the nonprofit,” [Emmett Carson, executive director of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation] said. “They want to understand the how, the why.”

Even within the rarefied world of big-ticket philanthropy, these donors form an exclusive fraternity. It is defined by its members’ relative youth, assiduous study of causes and charities, and intense interest in organizational innovation, according to people who work closely with them.

“Individuals who have great wealth, like a Mark Zuckerberg, do have influence,” said Mr. Lacon, who previously served as head of Northern California Grantmakers. “It challenges others who are in the same position, whether they are young or just wealthy, to say, ‘What are you doing with all of that wealth? Can you do it in a way that is bringing about change to the community?’”