Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson is saying little at this point about the $500 million gift in Facebook stock that company CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the foundation this week for spending on education and health. Zuckerberg, 28, made his announcement, with little specifics, that he would donate 18 million shares – where else? – but on his Facebook page on Tuesday. By Thursday morning, it had 200,000 “likes.”
Community foundations are charities that manage the investments of their donors and match their philanthropic interests to good causes. Those don’t have to be confined geographically; plenty of donors give to non-profits nationally and abroad or to their college or church. But Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s focus on San Mateo and Santa Clara counties is giving superintendents and charter school leaders from cities south of San Francisco to San Jose early dreams of sugar plums. In addition, Zuckerberg, and his wife, Priscilla, live in Palo Alto.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation, with assets of $2 billion as of a year ago, was already the second largest community foundation in the nation. This gift will grow it 25 percent.
Zuckerberg’s stock donation dwarfs his $100 million gift two years ago to a non-profit organization he started to improve Newark, N.J., public school schools. Through matching gifts, Zuckerberg’s donation has grown to $154 million, but only $17 million has been spent so far, according to an NBC News report. His Facebook entry may hint at how he’d like his Silicon Valley Community Foundation dollars to be spent. “I’m really proud of the work we’ve done there (Newark), helping leaders like Governor Chris Christie and Mayor Cory Booker sign the most progressive teachers contract in our country, opening four new district high schools, 11 new charter schools and more.”
Next month, I hear, there may be more details on plans for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation gift.