NET WORTH: $2.9 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Dropbox
FUNDING AREAS: Human Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Immigration, TBD
OVERVIEW: Drew Houston recently launched Dropbox Foundation with his Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi. He's also a founder of FWD.us.
BACKGROUND: Born in Massachusetts, Drew Houston graduated from MIT. When he was 24, Houston co-founded Dropbox with MIT classmate Ferdowsi.
DROPBOX FOUNDATION: Houston and Ferdowsi 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 aims to promote and protect human rights by partnering with nonprofits in two ways: by providing unrestricted grants, and with company employee volunteers whose skills match each organization’s needs, such as financial modeling, data security, or employee recruitment.
The foundation’s initial group of partners for 2018 includes 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.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM & IMMIGRATION: Houston is a founder of FWD.us, an organization that proposes comprehensive immigration and criminal justice system reforms.
LOOKING FORWARD: Houston is only in his 30s and very much engaged in business. He's just made a major philanthropic move with Dropbox Foundation, so we'll have to keep an eye on its work in human rights and other areas that may emerge. Work through Dropbox might also indicate where Houston will head with his personal philanthropy. He still has years to establish a formal family foundation, and grantseekers should keep this billionaire tech entrepreneur on their radar.