Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) is the largest community foundation in the world, with more than $8 billion in assets under management. The community foundation serves the Silicon Valley community and offers donor advised funds and other means for philanthropists to support the local and global causes they care about. It was founded in 2007 and has been a leader in addressing Silicon Valley communities most challenging problems and helping families, individuals and corporations manage their philanthropy – locally, nationally and globally. During the past 10 years, it has awarded nearly $4.3 billion total in grants from all types of SVCF funds around the world and $2.3 billion (of the total $4.3 billion in grants) to charities in the nine-county Bay Area.
In this interview, Dr Carson talks about the roots of SVCF’s tremendous growth to become of the largest donors in the United States (in 2015, it gave away $825 million in grants, second only to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Dr Carson provides a synoptic overview of some of the most important trends and developments in philanthropy, particularly within Silicon Valley: younger philanthropists keen to invest during their lives, making larger investments, with a different attitude to risk from previous generations. Dr Carson discusses SVCF innovative approach and emphasis on partnership and reciprocity, as well as some its distinct areas of focus like lobbying (on payday lending, for example, as well as other education initiatives). He talks about the rare blend of leadership, strategy and execution that the Foundation is looking for in grantee organisations and discusses his aspirations for SVCF in the future.