"I like to think of the community as an ecosystem," says CEO Nicole Taylor
In the last In this decade, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation has become one of the most popular destinations for tech philanthropy.
Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Reed Hastings among its donors has quietly turned SVCF into a philanthropic powerhouse. As a community foundation, it granted $ 126 million in grants in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in 2018 (the last year that numbers were available), but its true strength comes from its nearly $ 9 billion in donors advised funds (also known as DAFs).
DAFs have become popular with wealthy donors in recent years because they offer the tax benefits of a donation without the need for an immediate donation. They also courted controversy, with critics accusing them of being a means of tax protection.
Not so, says Nicole Taylor, CEO and President of SVCF. Taylor was appointed a year ago after her predecessor was overthrown in the scandal. She is working to change the image of DAFs and urges her donors to face the Bay Area's unique challenges such as housing, inequality, and transportation. I spoke to Taylor about how the technology sector can better manage donations.
theinformationsuperhighway: First, let's explain how a community foundation works.
Nicole Taylor: Community foundations are a means for people who want to offer a far better tax and advisory benefit than founding private foundations, whose overhead costs are expensive. Most people don't want to go there. They want a place to help them give, and they want that connection back to their local community.
Community foundations were founded in the Midwest and are over 100 years old. We are over 800. We serve certain geographic areas. Our main focus (at SVCF) is on the Silicon Valley region, the two counties here – Santa Clara and San Mateo.