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Sobrato Family Foundation Message

Thursday, August 24, 2017

To Our Community,

The acts over the past weeks have forced difficult reflections locally, across the country, and around the world. We are forced to reckon with the history of our nation, our individual roles in learning from our past, and collectively ensuring that it remains something we grow from as a society.

Sadly, we appear to be going through a period where we are not thinking about each other. We are often too fearful and suspicious to think about our collective community and as a result fall back to a focus on our own self-interest.

We must keep our values front of mind. They cannot be a list of attributes and aims that are tucked away, but must be an active guide for our lives as people on a shared planet.

We need to see the well-being of our neighbors as a concern that we each have a personal stake in. That is what the protestors did, showing up in opposition to hate in Charlottesville and in Boston. That is what marchers and civil rights activists over the decades have done. Those are the values we must continue to live by today. Whether lived out in historic acts or simple acts of common decency and compassion – we have to be there for each other.

While racism and hatred have always been an upsetting part of our national fabric, every day we strive to learn from that past and make our communities welcoming places for people of all backgrounds. We embrace multiculturalism – and believe that the richness of our country and communities is in the diversity of our people.

We must push back against the pressure to split into tribes and social media echo-chambers and continue to build communities based on shared interest, understanding our shared fate as one whole human race of people.

We must demand that everyone in our community has the opportunity to be economically and socially engaged. Those of us in the Valley know that reality is out of reach for too many people in our community. At the Sobrato Family Foundation, we believe that with so much energy and creativity in this region, we can make it a place where we all have the opportunity to go as far as our talents and tenacity will take us. This is not just about economic growth and stability, but about the way we care about each other.

We know what we do here in Silicon Valley matters, because we fuel innovation for the state, nation, and world. Therefore, we have a responsibility to show what togetherness and belonging can look like. Let’s make the Valley known for our social innovations as much as our technological innovations.

In these times, we believe philanthropy plays an important role. Those of us in leadership positions, those of us benefitting from privilege and opportunities systemically built into our nation’s policies and practices, must proactively support and demand policies that are equitable and inclusive. We must continue to demand that our government leaders make decisions that advance shared values and recognize our shared fate over personal self-interest. 

In the coming weeks and months, we must hold our values and actions up to the light. We must be willing to see the hard truths and continue to learn how we can and must do better for each other.

The Sobrato Family Foundation will continue to be guided by the values of community, humanity, and inclusion and show up and stand up for our neighbors here in the Valley and beyond.


John A. Sobrato
Board Chairman & Trustee
Lisa Sobrato Sonsini
Board President & Trustee
Rick Williams
Chief Executive Officer