Noel and Sally Fenton

NET WORTH: Unknown 

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Trinity Ventures

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Environment, San Francisco Community 

OVERVIEW: Noel Fenton and family do their grantmaking through the Fenton Family Foundation, which has given under $400,000 annually of late. The Fentons’ grantmaking supports the Bay Area through their foundation. One interest is the environment. Another is education, particularly Stanford, where several Fentons graduated. 

BACKGROUND: Noel J. Fenton received his BS in chemistry from Cornell University in 1959, and his MBA from Stanford University in 1963. Fenton co-founded three venture capital-backed start-up companies, and served as CEO of two of them. He founded Trinity Ventures, which invests in early-stage companies in computer software, electronic commerce, and communications.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: The Fenton family steadily supports Stanford, particularly its graduate school of business, where Fenton, his children, and son-in-law all graduated. The family, via their foundation, has also supported places like Cornell University, Eastside College Preparatory School, Partners in School Innovation, and Portola Valley School District, with which several Fentons have been involved. 

ENVIRONMENT: Fenton's wife Sally, a native New Yorker, was struck by the West Coast when she arrived decades ago. As she once put it, “I was amazed by the open space when I came out here. I didn’t realize it wasn’t protected.” The family was introduced to Peninsula Open Space Trust by a co-founder, and has been supporting the organization via their family foundation since the late 1990s. The Fentons have also supported organizations like NRDC, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society Santa Clara, Acterra, Northern Sierra Partnership, and Hawaii Wildlife Center.

OTHER: The Fentons also support the arts and various other causes in the San Francisco Bay Area community. Fenton Family Foundation grantees have included San Francisco Opera Association, Cantor Arts Center, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Humane Society Silicon Valley. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Fenton's son Peter is also a star in the tech world and is a trustee of the Fenton Family Foundation. Expect plenty more money to be directed toward select causes in the Bay Area. 


The Fenton Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the family but below is contact information:

The Fenton Family Foundation
114 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036
Tel: 800-878-7878