NET WORTH: $1.31 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Craigslist
FUNDING AREAS: Veterans and Military Families, Journalism, Voter Protection, Women in Technology
OVERVIEW: Some of Craig Newmark’s early philanthropy centered around using the Internet to help leverage his gifts and encourage others to give. Craigconnects.org aimed to connect organizations and individuals for the purpose of doing good. In 2015, he established Craig Newmark Philanthropies, which works to advance people and organizations that are “getting stuff done” in the areas of veterans and military families, trustworthy journalism, voter protection, and women in technology.
BACKGROUND: Craig Newmark grew up in Morristown, New Jersey. His father passed away when he was young, leaving his mother to care for him and his brother. He attended Case Western Reserve University where he studied Computer Science. He then went to work at IBM, where he stayed for 17 years before departing for San Francisco to work for Charles Schwab. There, he developed Craigslist, a free service that brought people together to exchange information, which largely came in the form of online classified ads. Newmark now works full time at Craigslist in customer service, and has monetized the site by charging companies in some areas and categories to list jobs, though much of the site is still free.
VETERANS & MILITARY FAMILIES: A believer in using social networking as a fundraising tool, Newmark teamed up with the Rahr Foundation to donate $100,000 to veterans charities. Rather than selecting the charities he thought were doing the best job though, he encouraged others to give through Edward Norton’s CrowdRise, creating challenges for the 44 charities that signed up to participate, and giving bonuses to the most successful fundraisers. Thanks in part to Craig’s donation and the publicity he helped create, the challenge raised over $2 million for veterans charities.
JOURNALISM: In 2017, the Craig Newmark Foundation gave a $1 million gift to ProPublica. Newmark also donated $1 million to The Poynter Institute for Media Studies to create a faculty position promoting journalism ethics and trustworthy news, and announced that he'd give away an additional $3.5 million to journalism causes he believes in. Newmark donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, the fund established in 2016 to serve as a source of funding to sustain Wikipedia. He gave an additional $500,000 to Wikipedia for its anti-harassment Community Health Initiative.
VOTER PROTECTION: Newmark has been involved with Sunlight Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, the Tech Policy Summit, the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, PolitiFact, ConsumersUnion, among others. He has also actively supported public diplomacy, including a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and used microfinancing through Kiva as a way to help bring the two sides together.
WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY: Newmark partnered with Women Who Tech to put together the first ever Women Startup Challenge Pitch Competition, an initiative to encourage broader participation and representation in the the tech community.
OTHER: Newmark committed $50,000 to fund scholarships at the University of San Francisco. Newmark has also supported Aspen Institute's Partners for a New Beginning, which aims to foster "public private partnerships that advance entrepreneurship, exchange, increase educational opportunity and support science and technology."
LOOKING FORWARD: Craig Newmark has stepped into the spotlight of late, and his been increasingly public about his philanthropy. His commitment to journalistic integrity is one area where he should be watched.