Our Purpose & Values
As a family, we are dedicated to helping create and sustain a strong and vibrant Silicon Valley community, and seek to inspire current and future generations of Sobratos to steward family resources in service of others. Our founders established a deep legacy in Silicon Valley that includes a commitment to community and hard work. Our values seek to honor and extend their legacy:
 
  • Family Ownership
    We value and desire active involvement by competent and engaged family members in our business operations and/or philanthropy.
 
  • Active Engagement
    Building on a family tradition of hands-on involvement, we take active roles in our work and community, empowering an exceptional professional team who share our passion for effective work that drives results. Together, we desire to make a positive, tangible difference.
 
  • Stewardship and Accountability
    We are committed to make the best use of time, opportunity and resources, generating long-term value that builds up our community and strengthens families. We foster collaboration and recognize the value of trusted relationships and partnerships, building better long-term solutions together than we would separately.
 
  • Integrity and Ethics
    We endeavor to deal openly, honestly and fairly with everyone we encounter.
 
  • Innovation and Risk Taking
    To find entrepreneurial solutions to persistent challenges and problems, we take a long-term perspective and try new things—learning and adapting as we go.
 

 

John A. Sobrato

Board Chairman & Trustee

 

As founder and principal of The Sobrato Organization, John heads one of the most successful real estate development organizations in California. John’s career in real estate dates back to the late 1950s. He began selling homes in Palo Alto, and while attending Santa Clara University, John arranged his classes to allow him to work three days a week. After graduating in 1960, John founded Midtown Realty and specialized in “Eichler” home re-sales. Building on his residential success, he expanded into commercial real estate, working with his mother Ann Sobrato to develop industrial properties nearly a decade before the name “Silicon Valley” was coined. In 1974, John sold Midtown Realty to focus on commercial development for the rapidly emerging high technology industry. The Sobrato Organization has since been responsible for development and construction of more than 150 office and research & development facilities, totaling more than 15 million square feet and 10,000 apartment units. While a corporate leader, John is a community leader—supporting many organizations in both board leadership and advisor positions, and believing that despite deep and compelling need, this entire Silicon Valley can thrive.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Sue Sobrato

Trustee

 

Susan and John Sobrato have been married for more than 50 years. While supporting John’s business pursuits for more than five decades, Sue also prioritized raising her family to give back to their community—not only with their financial resources, but with their time. Sue and John are blessed and busy, with three children, five grandsons, and two granddaughters.

 
 
 

John M. Sobrato

CFO & Trustee

 

John is the third generation to be involved with the family-owned firm where he has worked since his teens. As CEO of The Sobrato Organization since 1997, he has primary responsibility for the strategic direction of the firm’s portfolio of more than 15 million square feet of commercial and residential income properties, as well as the company’s investments in global marketable securities. He is a 1983 graduate of Santa Clara University, is deeply committed to supporting local and regional nonprofits, and is a firm believer that partnerships between organizations are critical to serving the community effectively. John is the father of two grown sons–each carrying on the family tradition of community service.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Lisa Sobrato Sonsini

Board President & Trustee

 

Lisa established the Sobrato Family Foundation in 1996 as a vehicle for multiple generations of the Sobrato family to unify their philanthropic giving for maximum impact. Under her leadership as Board President, SFF has grown tenfold in both assets and annual giving. For over 20 years, Lisa has been a strong advocate for the rights of abused and neglected children and youth from communities in need throughout the Bay Area. She also works passionately as a catalyst for civic engagement among many of the rising leaders in Silicon Valley. Before establishing SFF, Lisa practiced for five years as a corporate associate at the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison. Lisa received a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, and a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Business Administration from UCLA. Lisa resides in Menlo Park with her husband Matt and their three children.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Matthew W. Sonsini

Board Secretary & Trustee

 

Matt Sonsini is Chairman of the Sobrato Capital Investment Committee and serves of the Executive Committee of The Sobrato Organization and Sobrato Family Foundation Board of Trustees. Matt previously served as TSO’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining TSO in 2008, Mr. Sonsini was a corporate and securities partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., where he advised technology and growth enterprises worldwide, as well as the investment banks and private equity firms that finance them. In 2016, Matt returned as a partner to WSGR, where his areas of expertise include public and private financings, mergers & acquisitions, corporate formation and board governance. Prior to joining WSGR in 2001, Matt was a partner at Cooley LLP and, prior to that, an attorney at Latham & Watkins. Matt taught securities law for several years at Boalt Hall School of Law and is the former Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Sub-Committee on Venture Capital Documents. Matt graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1988 and earned his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Sheri Sobrato

Trustee

 

Eldest daughter of John and Sue Sobrato, Sheri’s long-term passion is working directly with children facing serious illnesses, and their families. She recently coauthored and is distributing Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges, which helps children and teens build emotional strength and resilience through journal writing. Other philanthropic priorities include small arts organizations, brain tumor research, and global programs including education and women and children’s issues. Sheri holds an AB from Stanford University and an MA in counseling psychology from Santa Clara University. Sheri is a current member of The Philanthropy Workshop, a Dame of Honor of the Knights of St. John, and an alumna of the Pipeline Fellowship. Sheri and her husband, Eric, live in California with their two children.

Awards and Community Service

 
In Memoriam
 

Ann Sobrato

Trustee

 

Ann Ainardi Sobrato was born in 1915 in Black Diamond, a small coal-mining town of European immigrants near Puget Sound, Washington. When Ann was only three her mother died of tuberculosis, and Ann’s father brought the family back to Torino, Italy.

 

John Massimo Sobrato of Suza, Italy enlisted in his teens in the American army during World War I. Wounded in action, John was decorated with a Purple Heart, and became a cook for the general staff. The officers recognized his talents and encouraged him to immigrate to America after the war. He settled in San Francisco and worked his way up in the restaurant business, eventually opening his own establishment during the Prohibition Era in North Beach. Though he moved locations several times, loyal patrons always sought out John’s Rendezvous.

 

Famed for its fine food the restaurant grew, and John purchased a building at 50 Osgood Place—eventually expanding John’s Rendezvous to half a city block. It drew thousands of patrons for more than 20 years and was considered the largest and finest restaurant in San Francisco during the 1940s. (See images in Historical Timeline.) Once successful in San Francisco, 39-year-old John traveled back to his hometown to find a wife. He met and married 21-year-old Ann Sobrato, returned to the City, and purchased a home in San Francisco’s Marina district. Arriving without a sentence of English or any formal education, Ann studied at Healds College.

 

Ann and John welcomed their son John Albert in 1939. During World War II, food shortages prompted them to buy a 5-acre estate in Atherton, where they could raise poultry and produce to supply the restaurant. When John passed in 1952, Ann sold the restaurant for $75,000. She reinvested some of the proceeds in property on the Peninsula, parlayed those profits into other holdings, and became the first female real estate developer in the region. Ann worked incessantly—developing keen negotiation and deal making skills, cultivating relationships, taking calculated risks, and guiding her son into what was now the family business. She gained renown as the “Mother of Silicon Valley”—one of the most successful developers in what has become the leading technology region in the world.

 

When Ann’s son John took over the business in the early 1960s, Ann devoted herself to voluntarism, dedicating thousands of hours as a “pink lady” at Stanford and at the Menlo Park Veterans hospitals. She also served weekly at St Anthony’s soup kitchen in the low income Fair Oaks neighborhood in Redwood City. In 1998, Ann endowed more than half a million dollars to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford for their children’s play area and a Families in Need fund—assisting loved ones of uninsured patients to pay for lodging and transportation expenses while their children receive care. And she provided tremendous support to another favorite charity: the Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Italy, which provide safe, home-like environments, education and vocational training to orphaned children in Italy. Ann’s wealth continues to make a difference after her death—the Sobrato Family Foundation endowment includes Ann’s entire estate, enabling millions of dollars of grant making to nonprofits throughout the region she loved so dearly.

 
 

Abby Sobrato

Trustee

 

Abby Sobrato—a fourth generation Santa Clara Valley resident—touched many lives through her tireless philanthropic work. A teacher by training, Abby focused much of her voluntarism serving preschool through university-level institutions, but was especially committed to the science and environmental stewardship education of elementary students. For 15 years, Abby served the Waldon West Foundation, nurturing several campaigns to build and enhance science facilities, and most notably, establishing the state-of-the-art Abby Sobrato Science and Sustainability Center in Saratoga to serve Santa Clara County school children. She never missed a chance to meet with local business or community leaders to advocate for her causes, but as passionate about philanthropy as Abby was, nothing was more important to her than her family. Wife for 23 years to John Michael, and mother of sons John and Jeff, Abby passed away in 2010 after battling pancreatic cancer. She is remembered throughout the community for her strong faith, boundless optimism, and deep dedication to serving others.

Awards and Community Service