OVERVIEW: The Brin Wojcicki Foundation is helmed by Google cofounder Sergey Brin and his wife Anne Wojcicki (although they are now separated). Much of their grantmaking takes place in the Bay Area, with health (Parkinson's research), education, and poverty being high priorities.
FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, poverty
IP TAKE: In the past, the foundation has held more than $1 billion in assets and gave away more than $25 million. Unfortunately, the outfit only gives to preselected organizations and doesn't have a website.
PROFILE: Cofounder of Google, Sergey Brin was born in Moscow in 1973. Brin's family immigrated to the United States and Brin attended Stanford, where he met Larry Page. Together, the pair created a search engine that would sort web pages based on popularity. Google launched in 1998 and Brin, now barely into his 40s, ranks in the top 30 on Forbes 400 List.
Brin married Anne Wojcicki, who was an investment analyst for at least a decade, overseeing health care investments. In 2006, Wojcicki cofounded 23andMe, a company that provides rapid genetic testing through a saliva-based personal genome test kit sold on the 23andMe website. The couple is now unofficially separated.
Together Brin and Wojcicki have been active in philanthropy. They helped found the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences with several other Bay Area tech staples (the Zuckerbergs among them), Brin and Wojcicki also have a foundation called the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, which was established in 2004.
The foundation's assets were reported at over $966 million at the end of a recent year with nearly $21 million in annual giving. This is quite a jump from the approximately $8 million in grantmaking the foundation did back in 2012. While the foundation only gives to preselected organizations, this is a robust Bay Area funder giving in a wide variety of areas.
One area of the foundation's interest is poverty. The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has provided significant support to the Tipping Point Community, which addresses poverty in the Bay Area. A gift of $1 million went to that outfit in 2011, and also again in 2012. Smaller sums of around $100,000 or less have gone to Meals on Wheels San Francisco, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Innvision Shelter Network, and my New Red Shoes, a nonprofit which provides shoes and clothing for Bay Area children living in poverty.
The Brin Wojcicki Foundation has also been deep into health, particularly supporting Parkinson's disease research. This philanthropy is likely motivated by Brin's mother, who suffers from the disease. While the largest sums, at least $127 million, has gone to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, in the Bay Area, money has gone to the Parkinson’s Institute, which has offices in Sunnyvale, California. More than $3 million went to the institute in 2013. Outside of this, around $2.5 million recently went to the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation, and more modest sums have gone to Lucia Health Foundation.
Brin and Wojcicki are also supportive of various education outfits in the Bay Area. They've been strong funders of the Wikemedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia. In 2013, $1 million went to that foundation, and the year before, Brin Wojcicki gave $500,000. Apart from Wikimedia, sums have gone to Citizen Schools, Eastisde College Preparatory School, and Stanford University.
The foundation has also given to Spark, "a philanthropic network of young professionals who invest to improve the lives of women around the world," and to BUILD, "whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success," and to Collective Roots, a food justice nonprofit.
Outside of San Francisco, the couple has been a strong supporter of Ashoka, a group that searches for, and brings together, entrepreneurs to produce innovative solutions to problems relating to a wide variety of social issues, including women's issues, education, and the environment.
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