Bob Parsons, former executive chairman at GoDaddy, stepped down in the summer of 2014 to focus on philanthropy and other ventures. But even before 2014, Parsons and his wife Renee have been involved in philanthropy. In 2011, the couple founded the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation which according to its website is focused on "issues in the greater Phoenix area." The foundation believes that everyone is entitled to "education, good nutrition, medical care, and a stress free happy environment."
The foundation has been giving away at least $10 million a year since its founding, with that number topping $13 million in 2013. That number may very well be higher when 2014 tax information is in. This is all to say that the Parsons are emerging as very active philanthropists in the Phoenix and greater southwest area. What's more, the charitable arm of GoDaddy, GoDaddy Cares, also does much of its grantmaking in Phoenix, with one priority being STEM education.
As for the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, here's an overview of what they've been up to:
1. Supporting Human Services is Very Important
Recent grantees have included the Make a Wish Foundation of Arizona, Mission of Mercy, a mobile healthcare outfit that provides free treatment, Community Alliance Against Family Abuse, and Maggie's Place Arizona Shelter. In 2013 alone, $1.5 million went to the Make a Wish Foundation of Arizona, where by the way, current executive director of the Parsons Foundation, Laura Mitchell once served as CFO/COO. The couple has also given rather large sums to UMOM New Day Centers to provide homeless families shelter. In 2014, $3 million went to that outfit and in 2013, UMOM New Day Centers received $5 million.
As well, the Parsons have been regular bankrollers of the Celebrity Fight Night Foundation in Phoenix to "promote ongoing efforts to eliminate sickness and poverty."
2. Parsons Has Supported Veterans and Peace Officers
Parsons grew "poor as a church mouse" in inner-city Baltimore. He struggled in school, but credits his service in the Marine Corps in Vietnam with turning his life around. Given his background, it's not surprising then that the foundation has supported quite a few local veterans outfits. Recent money has gone to the 100 Club of Arizona to provide financial assistance to families of public safety officers and firefighters. Money has also gone to Roots for Our Troops and the Joe Foss Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to "teaching civics and patriotism to America's students."
3. Health and Education is Also Important to the Parsons
The foundation recently gave $4.3 million to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. Smaller sums have gone to the Community Dental Foundation and the Phoenix Children's Hospital. It's worth noting that outside of the foundation's grantmaking in Phoenix, they also work on improving health and educational outcomes in rural Haiti.
On the education front, the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation recently issued a fundraising challenge for Teach For America–Phoenix.
The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation is still quite young, but the couple seems poised on supporting the Phoenix region. Even better news, the foundation is open to partnering with nonprofits in select areas.