NET WORTH: $400 million
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Dropbox
FUNDING AREAS: Human Rights, TBD
OVERVIEW: Arash Ferdowsi recently launched Dropbox Foundation with his Dropbox cofounder Drew Houston. Human rights are the foundation's initial focus.
BACKGROUND: The son of Iranian immigrants, Arash Ferdowsi grew up in Overland Park, Kansas. He attended MIT, where Drew Houston was a classmate. He dropped out a year before graduation when Houston invited him to help launch Dropbox in 2007. Ferdowsi left his post as Dropbox's CTO in 2016.
DROPBOX FOUNDATION: Ferdowsi and Drew Houston recently launched Dropbox Foundation with an initial endowment of approximately $20 million to back organizations on the front lines of the global fight for human rights. It will promote and protect human rights by partnering with nonprofits in two ways: through unrestricted grants to partners, and with support from company employee volunteers with skills that match each organization’s needs, such as financial modeling, data security, or employee recruitment.
The foundation’s initial group of partners for 2018 include: GOAL, based in Dublin, which responds to humanitarian crises and develops local capacity for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations; Larkin Street Youth Services, based in San Francisco, which supports at-risk youth with the resources they need to rebuild their lives, nurture their potential, and break the cycle of homelessness; and WITNESS, based in Brooklyn, which harnesses the power of video and technology to help global activists document human rights abuses and distribute their evidence in safe and ethical ways that lead to lasting change.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Dropbox Foundation's work is just kicking off, so we'll have to keep an eye on this charity going forward. In addition to human rights, immigration seems like another issue the foundation and Ferdowsi's personal philanthropy might tackle, given the personal elements. Only in his 30s, Ferdowsi still has years to give.