NET WORTH: $2.6 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder of Intuit
FUNDING AREAS: Education, environment, human services, youth services
OVERVIEW: Through the Valhalla Foundation, the couple has provided support for education around the world.
BACKGROUND: While Scott Cook was a brand manager at Procter and Gamble in 1983, his wife, Signe Ostby, complained about balancing the family's checkbook, so he came up with the idea for Quicken software, and his company, Intuit, was born. It would later grow into one of the largest tech companies in the world.
PHILOSOPHY: Cook has a history of leveraging his giving by supplying challenge grants, which provide an incentive for organizations to maintain a strong fundraising network, and encourages other philanthropists to give. He is also known for giving Intuit Employees "giving certificates" around the holidays, contributing a certain amount in their name to charity, and allowing them to decide to which charity the money will go.
EDUCATION: Among Cook's largest grants so far has been the total $14 million he's given to the University of Wisconsin, Madison Business School. His Valhalla Charitable Foundation also makes large donations to educational institutions, usually over multi-year periods. In total, he has donated at least $1 million to Khan Academy, more than $13 million to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation (with $7.1 million going to the university in 2015 alone), and at least $2.3 million to Claremont McKenna College. He has also given more than $2 million to organizations that provide educational opportunities in Africa, and made dozens of smaller donations to groups offering educational opportunities, mainly in the Bay Area.
MEDICAL RESEARCH: The foundation, along with two others, set up a $10.3 million challenge grant, in which they matched donations dollar-for-dollar at the Myelin Repair Foundation, which is a Northern-California-based, medical research organization that is trying to speed up discovery and development of new drug treatments and disease cures. The challenge grants matched other donations dollar-for-dollar, so Cook’s grant actually amounted to twice as much. Providing the bulk of the challenge money, Cook wrote a check to Myelin for $5.3 million.
ENVIRONMENT: In recent years, Cook has donated at least $1 million to the Ridges Sanctuary, and at least $3 million to the Environmental Defense Fund, where Ostby serves as a trustee.
The foundation does not have a website, and does not provide clear guidelines for grant seekers.
Vahalla Charitable Foundation
2995 Woodside Rd., Ste. 400-400
Woodside, CA 94062