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

Chairman Emeritus

 

As founder and principal of The Sobrato Organization, Mr. Sobrato heads one of the most successful real estate development organizations in California. Mr. Sobrato’s career in real estate dates to 1957, when he began selling homes in Palo Alto while attending Santa Clara University. Building on his success in the residential marketplace he soon expanded into commercial real estate, working with his mother in the development of industrial properties nearly a decade before the name “Silicon Valley” was coined. Among his many board positions, Mr. Sobrato is a Trustee of the University of Santa Clara, Vice Chairman of the Latino College Preparatory Academy, Co-founder and Co-chair of Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School and Vice Chair of the Foundation for Hispanic Education. In 1998 he was named the NSFRE’s Philanthropist of the Year.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Sue Sobrato

Trustee

 

Susan and John Sobrato have been married for 57 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

Chairman

 

Mr. Sobrato is the third generation to be involved with the family-owned organization where he has worked since his teens. As Chairman, he leads the executive committee that sets strategic direction of the organization’s portfolio of over 15 million square feet of commercial and residential income properties as well as its investments in global marketable securities. He is very involved in the local community and is past chair of numerous non-profit boards including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Bellarmine College Preparatory, KTEH Public Television, Santa Clara University Fellows and Regents, Catholic Charities of San Jose, the San Jose Repertory Theater and Charities Housing Development Corporation. Mr. Sobrato was recently named Chairman of the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees and currently serves on the boards of Notre Dame San Jose, the Catholic Foundation of Santa Clara County and the Sobrato Family Foundation. Mr. Sobrato graduated from Santa Clara University with a BSC.

 

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.  The Sobrato Family Foundation strives to make Silicon Valley a place of opportunity for all of its residents by promoting access to high-quality education, career pathways and essential human services.  Under her leadership as Board President, SFF has grown tenfold in both assets and annual giving.  For over 25 years, Lisa has been a strong advocate for the rights of disadvantaged youth in both the educational and foster care systems.  She also works passionately as a catalyst for civic engagement among many of the rising leaders in Silicon Valley.  Lisa currently serves on the Boards of Directors for KQED, KIPP Bay Area Schools, Silicon Schools, Silicon Valley Children’s Fund and American Leadership Forum Silicon Valley.  She has previously served as Board President for the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, Child Advocates, The Good Tidings Foundation and Today’s Youth Matter. Honors include the John W. Gardner Leadership Award from ALF Silicon Valley, Humanitarian of the Year from Hidden Villa, and San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee.  Lisa received a J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA. She resides in Menlo Park with her husband Matt and their three children.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 

Matthew W. Sonsini

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer

 

Mr. Sonsini is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of The Sobrato Organization and also serves on the Sobrato Family Foundation’s Board of Trustees. As CEO, Mr. Sonsini is responsible for managing operations and resources so as to maximize alignment with the organization’s values, goals and objectives. Prior to joining The Sobrato Organization, he was a corporate and securities partner at Cooley LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C., where he advised technology and growth enterprises worldwide, as well as the institutions that finance them. Mr. Sonsini graduated from Dartmouth College 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. Sheri is founder of the Digging Deep Project, coauthor of Digging Deep: A Journal for Young People Facing Health Challenges, and creator of Shadow’s Edge, a mobile game for teens with medical conditions. Sheri holds an AB from Stanford University and an MA from Santa Clara University. Sheri is a 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 Brisson, live in California with their two children.

 

Awards and Community Service

 

John Matthew Sobrato

Trustee

 

John is part of the fourth generation of Sobrato family members working within the Silicon Valley. For the past seven years John has worked at the Latino College Preparatory academy, which serves the community in east San Jose, as both a teacher and administrator. He also helped to found an ed-tech startup, Alloy Learning, in 2014. His company looks to empower teachers through an innovative software platform that allows them to be data driven, better understand their students, and teach more efficiently. John is a 2010 graduate of Santa Clara University, and as a member of the board, is deeply committed to continuing the family’s leadership on education issues as well as providing equity and access to opportunities for school communities throughout the Bay Area.

 

Awards and Community Service

 
 
 

Jeffrey M. Sobrato

Trustee

 

Jeffrey is the fourth generation to be involved with the family-owned firm where he began interning in his early teens. Jeffrey joined the real estate team full-time in 2016 and his responsibilities include leasing, acquisitions, entitlements, and marketing. Prior to joining Sobrato, Jeffrey spent five years as a portfolio manager at a bank in Los Angeles. He is a 2011 graduate of Santa Clara University, is deeply committed to a range of nonprofits, and is a firm believer in high quality education, environmental sustainability, global health, and social justice.

 

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