Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman

NET WORTH: $3 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Tech venture capitalist, Sequoia Capital

FUNDING AREAS: Higher Education, SF Community

OVERVIEW: Moritz, a signatory to the Giving Pledge, has demonstrated a strong commitment to education, mostly through large donations to the schools he has a connection with. In 2000, he founded the Crankstart Foundation with his wife Harriet Heyman, which in a recent year, held some $982 million in assets, and gave nearly $28 million. 

BACKGROUND: Moritz grew up in Wales, and attended Oxford before coming to the U.S. to study business at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. He worked briefly as a writer for Time, wrote a book on Apple computers, and coauthored another on Chrysler before joining the tech investment firm Sequoia Capital in 1986. At the firm, he quickly became a major player in the tech industry, having a hand in the creation and growth of some of the tech world's biggest companies, including Yahoo, Google, PayPal, Kayak, Cisco, YouTube, and Zappos. He was previously on the board of Google, and currently sits on the boards of LinkedIn, Kayak, the Green Dot Corporation, and several others, but has stepped away from the day-to-day management of Sequoia because of a rare but manageable medical condition. 


EDUCATION: Moritz's single largest gift to date has been a $116 million donation to his alma mater, Oxford University. The pledge will be paid in three equal annual installments, with each payment matched by the university's endowment investments, challenging other Oxford alumni to donate. In all, the donation, which Oxford officials are calling the "biggest philanthropic gift for undergraduate financial support in European history," could generate nearly a half billion dollars. Under the program started with this gift, qualified students from families whose income falls below $25,000 will receive enough support to cover all of their living costs and also receive lower rates on their student loans.

This donation wasn't Moritz's first to the university. In 2008, he made a donation of $50 million to American Friends of Christ Church, which benefited Oxford's Christ Church College, where he studied as an undergraduate. In a recent year, he made two major gifts, one for $5 million to the Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program, and one for $30 million to endow Ph.D. programs at the University of California San Francisco--a gift that the university is using to raise another $30 million in matching funds.

Moritz gave $50 million to the University of Chicago benefiting the Odyssey program which supports lower income students with outstanding potential (UC will raise $50 million in matching funds).

SF AREA COMMUNITY: When he's not supporting education, San Francisco area parks are the main recipients of Moritz's philanthropy. The Mesa Park Agency in Marin County has received at least $1.5 million, and the Firehouse Community Park in Sacramento received a grant for $750,000. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Moritz has kept his rare medical condition a secret, but it does make one wonder whether or not he will become more active in supporting medical research, particularly for rare diseases.


  • Crankstart Foundation, c/o Frank, Rimerman & Co., LLP, 1801 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1216, 650-845-8100
  • Chairman, Sequoia Capital, 3000 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, 650-854-3927, moritz@sequoiacapital.com