NET WORTH: $400 million
SOURCE of WEALTH: Craigslist
FUNDING AREAS: Veterans, Volunteerism, Education, Voting Rights, Open Government, Journalistic Integrity, Startups
OVERVIEW: Much of Newmark’s philanthropy is centered using the Internet to help leverage his gifts and encourage others to give by creating fundraising challenges where he matches donations or gives his donation to the most successful fundraising organization.
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: 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.
VOLUNTEERISM: He’s been a spokesperson for the government’s United We Serve Campaign, and the websites serve.gov and Allforgood.org, which he calls “the Craigslist for service.” Craigslist.org also allows people to post volunteer opportunities as well, and Craig has also created Craigconnects.org, which has a stated purpose of connecting organizations and individuals for the purpose of doing good. At this stage, the website still seems to be in its testing phase, and basically just has links to organizations that Craig feels passionately about. He’s also on the Advisory Board for Points of Light, another organization dedicated to volunteer service.
EDUCATION: As a member of the DonorsChoose.org National Advisory Council, he’s helped raise over $52,000 for the organization, at least half of which came out of his own pocket. He also recently committed $50,000 to fund scholarships at the University of San Francisco (USF).
Newmark donated $1 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, the fund established in 2016 to serve as a source of funding to sustain Wikipedia.
VOTING RIGHTS & CITIZENSHIP: Among the causes that Newmark lists on Craigconnects.org are voting resources, voter protection, consumer protection, open government, and journalistic integrity. He is listed as an advisor or board member for the 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.
DIVERSITY: Newmark has 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.
STARTUPS: Newmark and a few other techentrepreneurs and companies donated a total of $525,000 to microfinance startup Zidisha, the first online microlending community that directly connects lenders and borrowers — no matter the distance or disparity between them.
LOOKING FORWARD: Newmark has clearly established where his primary interests lie and seems to be involved with a large number of organizations.