NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Venture Capitalist and cofounder of Accel Partners
FUNDING AREAS: Entrepreneurship, Art and Media, Churches and Human Services.
OVERVIEW: Venture capitalist James Swartz and his wife Susan move their philanthropy through the Swartz Foundation Trust. Carnegie Mellon, Swartz's alma mater, has received millions, including a recent $31 million gift to create an entrepreneurship center. The Swartzes have also supported a number of churches and religious institutions, and millions have gone to Harvard Divinity School. The couple also has shown a real interest in the arts.
BACKGROUND: James R. Swartz went to Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University, where he earned an M.S. in industrial administration. He has been active in venture capital since the early 1970s. Swartz was the founding general partner at Adler & Company before cofounding Accel Partners in 1983, a global technology venture capital firm with offices in Palo Alto, London, Bangalore, Beijing and Shanghai. Accel has invested in major tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP: The couple have directed millions to Carnegie Mellon University, and a lot of this money has gone to support entrepreneurship. A recent $31 million gift by the couple created the the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship. A $10 million gift in a recent year also supported entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon. The school is the site of the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Program, which provides coursework in entrepreneurship, mentoring, hands-on experiences and networking. It also offers a mentored summer internship with a top -tier, VC-backed startup within the high-tech, high-growth environment of California’s Silicon Valley and San Francisco. Carnegie Mellon is also home to the James R. Swartz Entrepreneurial Leadership Series, which brings leading entrepreneurs to campus.
ART & MEDIA: Swartz and Susan have a deep interest in the arts and media. They founded Impact Partners, which finances "independent documentary cinema that addresses pressing social issues." Impact Partners has bankrolled films such as The Cove, about dolphin hunting in Japan, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Swartz is a trustee at the Sundance Institute and Susan sits on the board of the Utah Film Center, which the couple supports. Other grantees have included Firelight Media, which "produces award-winning films that expose injustice, illuminate the power of community and tell a history seldom told," Open Eye Pictures, and Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival.
The couple has also steadily supported arts institutions such as the Park City Performing Arts Center, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where Swartz is a trustee. It's worth noting that Susan is a longtime painter with studios in Park City, Utah and Martha's Vineyard; some of her works are held in the collections of the Springville Museum of Art in Springville, Utah, the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the George Eccles 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum in Park City, Utah.
CHURCHES & HUMAN SERVICES: Swartz and Susan co-chair the Christian Center of Park City, which they helped found in 2000. In a recent year, the couple has donated to Bethel AME Church, Campus Crusade for Christ and Salt Lake Christian Fellowship, among others. The couple has also given money to Harvard Divinity School, where Susan sits on the dean's council.
A $10 million gift helped create the Susan Shallcross Swartz Endowment for Christian Studies at Harvard Divinity School, which will fund new professorships and support fellowships and programming in the classroom and in the field. Apart from this work, Swartz and Susan have engaged in human services work. Swartz founded the YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard.
OTHER: The couple has also supported environmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy of Utah and Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust. Swartz is also a director Emeritus of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation where he established the Borgen-Swartz Education Endowment.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Swartz aren't major health philanthropists, but they have funded Lyme disease research, recently giving money to the Lyme Disease Research Foundation Of Maryland--Susan having dealt with Lyme disease and mercury poisoning.
The Swartz Foundation Trust doesn't provide a clear avenue of contact, but an address is below:
The Swartz Foundation Trust
501 Madison Avenue, No 17th Floor
New York, NY 10022