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The Giving Code: Silicon Valley Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Publication date: 
October, 2016

Why are Silicon Valley community-based organizations struggling to meet demand in one of the wealthiest and most sophisticated regions in the world? Why aren’t more Silicon Valley philanthropists directing their dollars toward local organizations and issues—in addition to national or global causes—and why hasn’t more entrepreneurial ingenuity been harnessed to solve local problems? What is the cause of these disconnects, and how might we help bring these two groups together in service of shared community?

These are questions we set out to answer in a new report The Giving Code: Silicon Valley Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and supported by 13 partners and 19 advisors, this report reflects a year of research and analysis, and conversations with more than 300 community stakeholders—from high net worth individuals and their advisors, to leaders of community-based organizations. 

The Giving Code builds on work that others have done, but also breaks new ground, providing a holistic portrait of the region’s nonprofit and philanthropy ecosystems—their size and shape, how they operate, where and why they do or do not intersect. In it, we examine and challenge Silicon Valley’s emerging “giving code,”—an implicit approach to philanthropy embodied by new hi-tech donors—exploring the divides that exist between local philanthropists and community-based nonprofits, and sharing ideas for how to bridge the gaps.

We hope you are excited to share this report with others, to host discussions about our findings, and even to create an action plan for how you might help bridge these gaps. We are grateful for your interest in our work, and welcome your feedback.