Top of Mind: Give Here. Give Together. Give More.

Nov 25, 2019 | Lisa Sobrato Sonsini

Silicon Valley has long been a place where individuals can seek and achieve their dreams. It is a region of folklore — where a single idea can spark a cultural revolution. But despite this legacy, our local region is no longer a place of shared prosperity. A third of the people who live here cannot meet their basic needs without help. The number of homeless people in Silicon Valley outstrips San Francisco and continues to grow. Just miles away from some of the best schools in the country, the majority of third graders struggle to read. And even well-regarded community organizations are closing their doors due to rising real estate prices and difficulty retaining staff.

Giving back to the community that gave us so much is central to the Sobrato Family’s philanthropy. But no matter how much we give, we won’t overcome these challenges on our own. Those of us with the means to give need to change the way we think about the community where our businesses thrive. To reach our full shared potential, we need to acknowledge the fact that our futures are inextricably interwoven. Our community needs more donors to engage locally, and more funds directed to the critical community partners working to shift our region’s inequitable growth trajectory.

To that end, our Silicon Valley giving focuses on expanding opportunity for our low-income neighbors. We invest in Essential Human Services to ensure access to critical stabilizing services and support our local safety net to respond to community needs. We invest in education because it is a catalyst for economic mobility and support strategies that launch low-income entrepreneurs and individuals on the path to increased income, earning potential, and financial resilience. But we know that the challenges in our community will require a critical mass of partners and funders. We are proud to be part of an exciting new collaborative initiative aimed at changing the way Silicon Valley donors think about investing in our community. Magnify Community, brings together advocates, connectors, and changemakers to shine a spotlight on local needs and the high-performing community nonprofits who are making a difference. Magnify Community makes local giving easy, effective, joyful, and rewarding — catalyzing $100 million in additional giving to Silicon Valley nonprofits over the next three to five years, and laying a foundation for enduring local investment that will impact generations to come.

This month, Magnify Community debuted a new community Pledge that invites local donors to give here and invest more. We are pleased to be among the pledge’s inaugural signatories, alongside John and Marcia Goldman, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Sand Hill Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Tegan and Brian Acton (on behalf of Sunlight Giving), SV2, and others. Through the Pledge, nearly $40M new dollars have already been committed locally over the next three years.

Silicon Valley is known around the world for our out-of-the-box thinking. Through collaborative initiatives like the Magnify Community Pledge, we can leverage our disruptive culture of innovation to build up our own community and solve our most pressing challenges.

Happy Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for and so much more we can do.

With great hope for the future,

Lisa Sobrato Sonsini
Board President & Interim CEO