Marc and Laura Arrillaga Andreessen

NET WORTH: $1.12 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Netscape, Andreessen Horowitz

FUNDING AREAS: Health & Community, Veterans & Military Families, LGBT Community, STEM Diversity, Libraries

OVERVIEW: Marc Andreessen supported his firm, Andreessen Horowitz, in its decision to give away half its income to charity. He and his wife, Laura, have a family foundation, and as a longtime philanthropist in her own right, Laura appears to have a major influence over Marc's grantmaking. 

BACKGROUND: Marc Andreessen received his bachelor's from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was the co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser, but he is probably best known as the co-founder of Netscape. This early success enabled him to co-found Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm that has enabled him to become a major stakeholder in a number of tech giants, including Facebook. In 2006, he married Laura Arrillaga, the heir to her father's real estate fortune and a career philanthropist.

ANDREESSEN HOROWITZ: . In a move emulating Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, Andreessen managed to convince the six general partners at Andreessen Horowitz to donate at least half of their lifetime venture capital earnings to charity. He initiated their grantmaking by pooling a combined $1 million and having each partner decide where his portion of the money would go. The initial focus has been on helping the underprivileged in the Bay Area, which could also give a clue as to where the Andreessen Horowitz pledge money might go in the future. Developments so far have included:

  • Andreessen decided to support Fresh Lifelines for Youth, a charity for underprivileged children.

  • Scott and Pamela Weiss chose the Shelter Network, which provides shelter and support for the Bay Area's homeless population.

Andreessen, for his part, hopes that his firm's idea takes off and that it is adopted by other venture capitalists. He sees the initiative as an attempt to improve the public image of his sector.

ISSUES:

HEALTH & COMMUNITY: The first major grant that Marc and Laura made as a couple was a $27.5 million donation in 2007 to the Stanford Hospital to provide emergency services. After giving a lot of thought to what their first major grant as a couple would be, they chose emergency services because they wanted to give back in their community.

VETERANS & MILITARY FAMILIES: In early 2016, Andreessen and Laura funded four nonprofits working to increase veteran participation, success and inclusion in the tech sector, helping veterans, their families and the companies they work for achieve their full potential. Grantees included Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) housed at Syracuse University and VetsinTech which supports veterans through reintegration services that connect them to the national technology ecosystem.

STEM DIVERSITY: Andreessen and Laura have also made grants to several nonprofits including Code2040, Girls Who Code, and Hack the Hood in order to increase diversity in the tech world.

LGBT COMMUNITY: In the same area but with a narrower focus towards LGBTQ organizations, the couple has supported places like Trans*H4CK and Lesbians Who Tech.

LIBRARIES: Andreessen and Laura have supported Enoch Pratt Public Library and Ferguson Public Library in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri respectively.

LOOKING FORWARD: It is early to tell whether the bulk of Andreessen's money will stay local, or whether he will begin to donate more heavily to issues that are more national or global in nature. Inevitably, Laura will play a major role in shaping Andreessen's grantmaking in the coming years.

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