Chris and Heidi Stolte: Tech Grants

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Tableau Software, BeeLine Systems

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Environmental Policy and Practice, Advocacy and Engagement

OVERVIEW: Chris Stolte and his wife Heidi move their philanthropy through the recently-minted Stolte Family Foundation (SFF), which aims to ignite systemic change in education and environmental policy and practice. It also invests in community movements that engage, inform, and activate people in the political process.

BACKGROUND: Chris Stolte graduated from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia with a B.S. in computer science in 1996 from and Stanford University with a Ph.D. in computer science in 2004. He cofounded BeeLine Systems, a digital mapping startup that was acquired by Vicinity Corporation. Stolte went on to cofound Tableau Software in Seattle, which helps people see and understand data.

ISSUES:

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Heidi is a former educator and community volunteer and appears to take the lead in this grantmaking category. She is particularly interested in a community-led approach. SFF has supported places like Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Children’s Home Society of Washington, Community Center for Education Results, Educare Seattle, and the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS), an “interdisciplinary center dedicated to discovering the fundamental principles of human learning, with a special emphasis on early learning and brain development.”

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY & PRACTICE: Stolte is strongly interested in tackling the climate crisis. SFF has supported Clean Energy Transition Institute, Climate Solutions, EarthLab - UW College of the Environment, League of Conservation Voters Education Fund (LCVEF), the Wilderness Society, and Spark Northwest, which “creates communities powered by locally controlled clean energy.” 

ADVOCACY & ENGAGEMENT: SFF is also interested in advocacy and engagement in Washington State. For example, it has supported Fuse Innovation Fund, which “aims to achieve progress through government by the people and for the people in Washington state”; Washington Budget & Policy Center; and Win/Win, which seeks to “build a civically powerful network to advance social, racial, and economic equity throughout Washington State.”

LOOKING FORWARD: Stolte is only in his 40s and very much engaged in business. But this is a couple that should be watched for greater giving down the line in the realm of education and the environment.

LINK: SFF Contact Page