NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Cofounder, Innovative Interfaces
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Libraries, Policy & Human Rights, Environment, Arts & Culture
OVERVIEW: Stephen Silberstein moves his philanthropy through the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation. Silberstein has given millions to his alma mater U.C. Berkeley and is a trustee of U.C. Berkeley Foundation and U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. Silberstein also has a major interest in left-of-center policy work, supporting a number of outfits around the country. He has also given sums to human rights, environmental issues, and more.
BACKGROUND: Stephen Silberstein received his B.A. and MLS from UC Berkeley, and a master's degree in econometrics from the University of Stockholm in Sweden. Employed as a computer programmer in the 1970s in UC Berkeley's library, Silberstein was responsible for the library’s total automation program with the goal of replacing the card catalog with a computerized system. He also taught in the computer science department at UC Berkely. In 1978, Silberstein cofounded Innovative Interfaces, which develops automated systems for libraries. Silberstein also served as first president of Innovative Interfaces. Innovative today has more than 2,400 library systems installed in 9,500 libraries, spanning the globe in 66 countries.
EDUCATION & LIBRARIES: Silberstein is a trustee of UC Berkeley Foundation and U.C. Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. A $1 million grant went to UC Berkeley Foundation in 2013. The City of Berkeley, by the way, is a significant site of philanthropy, and money has also gone to Berkeley Public Education Foundation. Recent support has also gone to Oakland School of the Arts. Silberstein is interested in supporting libraries as well, and sits on the board of the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation. In the least two tax years for which records are available, more than $200,000 went to Berkeley Public Library. Funds have also gone to Belvedere-Tiburon Library and Alameda Free Library Association.
POLICY & HUMAN RIGHTS: In the Bay Area, Silberstein funded outfits such as Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Impact Fund, which "provides strategic leadership and support for litigation to achieve economic and social justice," and the Tides Foundation, which gives "grants to nonprofits working toward social change in the US and abroad."
He's also given to many outfits around the country, particularly in Washington D.C. and New York. he gave $300,000 to Amnesty International, $300,000 to Media Matters, and $200,000 to Democracy Now. A component of this philanthropy also involves leveraging media, and he's given to Brave New Foundation, which supports Brave New Films, a socially conscious documentary film company, and Kitchen Sisters Productions, which "works to build community through storytelling."
Silberstein was a backer of expanding gun-sale background check, giving $50,000 to the Maine ballot initiative campaign through the Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation.
ENVIRONMENT: Silberstein has recently funded National Resources Defense Council, which received a $150,000 grant in 2013. Funds have also gone to outfits including the Rainforest Action Network, San Francisco Baykeeper, Seacology, a "charitable organization headquartered in Berkeley, California that focuses on preserving island ecosystems and cultures around the world," and the Sierra Club Foundation, which received a $200,000 grant in 2013. He's given recent sums to NatureBridge, which provides "hands-on environmental science programs for children and teens."
ARTS & CULTURE: Silberstein has also funded arts and culture outfits in the Bay Area. A $200,000 grant went to San Francisco Film Society in 2012 and he also gave money to outfits such as the Berkeley Repertory Theater.
LOOKING FORWARD: It's unclear how much money Silberstein has waiting in the wings, but a recent 990 indicated around $112 million in assets in his foundation. Expect money to continue streaming to Silberstein's select interest areas, particularly policy outfits.
The Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch but below is an address