FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Environment
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Twitter, Blogger
NET WORTH: $1.71 billion
OVERVIEW: One of America's newest billionaires as a result of Twitter's IPO, Evan Williams and his wife, Sara, created the Sara & Evan Williams Foundation in 2011. Still focused on their professional careers, they funded a few initiatives in the Bay Area and statewide in California.
BACKGROUND: The cofounder of Twitter has been involved in a number of different tech start-ups since leaving the University of Nebraska to pursue his career. He's worked for Google and contracted for companies like Intel and HP. Williams is now focusing most of his attention on Medium.com, whose motto is "A better place to read and write." Like many in his position, he has named his wife the president of their foundation, which they've endowed with just over $20 million.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: The couple has given to 826 Valencia, which helps youth with their writing, Mission Graduates, which prepares students for college and beyond, and Little School, "a relationship-based, inclusive pre-school committed to providing individualized, quality education to young children." Support has also gone to the Marin Primary and Middle School. $500,000 also went to the UCSF Foundation recently.
Some of the couple's biggest work so far has involved their support of IDEO.org, "a nonprofit design organization that works to empower the poor," which was tapped to help reform the school cafeteria. The Williamses gave IDEO over $1 million in a recent year.
ENVIRONMENT: In the bay area, support has gone to the Energy Foundation ($25,000 in a recent year), which describes itself as a "partnership of major foundations interested in sustainable energy." Money has also gone to the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. Outside of San Francisco, the couple has supported Grist, an environmental news publication, and 350.org, an "international effort to raise awareness of the need to decrease carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million." Support has also gone to the U.S. Climate Network, Educators Outside, Tesla Science Center, Portland Sustainability Institute, and others.
The couple has also supported the environment through Community Initiatives, which funds local causes in San Francisco. One of these efforts is Food Systems.
OTHER: The Williamses are known supporters of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been one of the foremost advocates for free speech and privacy rights in the digital age. The Transgender Law Center in San Francisco received a small donation in 2011, signaling a possible larger future commitment to LGBT issues. The couple has also supported the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, the Computer History Museum, That Man May See, a nonprofit founded by two UCSF researchers with the aim of accelerating discoveries in the preservation of sight.
LOOKING FORWARD: Evan and Sara are still pretty new to philanthropy, and so far have focused mostly to local issues. But with their windfall from Twitter's IPO, they may soon be ready to expand the scope of their giving on the issues they care about.