Nick and Leslie Hanauer

NET WORTH: $1 billion (estimated)

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Venture Capitalist;, aQuantive

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Environment, Policy, Gun Control, Seattle Community

OVERVIEW: Nick Hanauer and his wife Leslie move their philanthropy through the Nick and Leslie Hanauer Family Foundation, which focuses on public education and the environment, among other areas, both locally in Seattle and on a national level. It also focuses on policy and efforts to stop gun violence. In a recent tax year, it gave around $2.5 million in grants. The couple recently signed the Giving Pledge.

BACKGROUND: Nick Hanauer studied philosophy at University of Washington. After graduating, he worked for his family’s feather bedding company, Pacific Coast Feather, before going into the technology industry. Hanauer has managed, founded or financed over 35 companies. He was the first non-family investor in, and founded aQuantive, purchased by Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. He's also a cofounder and partner of Second Avenue Partners, a venture capital firm in Seattle, where he lives.


EDUCATION: Last decade, Hanauer co-founded the League of Education Voters, an organization that works on behalf of students “to support an education system that provides all students an equal opportunity for success from cradle to career." The couple, through their foundation, has supported outfits such as, a nonprofit that aims to "encourage people, particularly school students in the United States, to learn computer science." Other grants have gone to Epiphany School in Seattle, League of Education Voters, Seattle Academy (which received a grant of over $1 million in the most recent tax records available), and Year Up Puget Sound. The couple were primary donors and driving forces behind the launch of University of Arizona's Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter. Hanauer supports his alma mater University of Washington, as well.

ENVIRONMENT: Hanauer is interested in the environment. The couple's foundation has supported outfits such as Conservation International, Forterra, and the Bullitt Foundation, which funds environmental organizations in the west. The couple has also supported Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit.

POLICY: In the wake of Sandy Hook, Hanauer co-founded the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, whose mission is to "put forward and support commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence." The outfit was the primary backer for Initiative 594, which expands state background check laws to all gun purchases. Hanauer donated over $1 million to the campaign. The couple were major donors to a successful gun buyback effort in Seattle.

The couple supports Center for American Progress, Democracy Journal, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal organization. They also provide funding for Third Way Institute, and Movement Strategy Center, which works with "grassroots organizations, alliances, and networks, as well as funders, to build powerful and transformative social justice movements." It's worth mentioning that apart from gun control, Hanauer is also interested in income inequality and has been outspoken on the issue. One of his more memorable policy views is outlined in a 2012 TED Talk, where he declared that “rich people don’t create jobs.”

SEATTLE COMMUNITY: The Hanauers are based in Seattle and the city is important in their philanthropy. Their foundation has supported Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Center Fund, Progress Alliance of Washington, whose vision is a "Washington State that is a healthy place to live with shared economic success and security, and a democracy that works for its people,"  and Woodland Park Zoo.

LOOKING FORWARD: Hanauer has said that in his 40s, he decided to devote no more than a third of his time to "things associated with increasing [his] net worth." His outspokeness on issues such as gun control and income inequality may well translate to even greater philanthropy down the line.


The Nick and Leslie Hanauer Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the couple but below is an address

The Nick and Leslie Hanauer Foundation

1301 Second Ave., Ste. 2850

Seattle, WA 98101


Nick Hanauer Website

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