OVERVIEW: Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation is the newly established philanthropic vehicle of GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and his wife Renee. They do most of their grantmaking in Phoenix. As well, through GoDaddy Cares, the couple also supports STEM and other causes in the Phoenix area.
FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, human services, veterans, homelessness, youth, American dream
IP TAKE: Although newly formed, the Parsons Foundation has already set its sights on supporting the Greater Phoenix area, giving more than $10 million annually.
PROFILE: Parsons grew up "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. He later started Parsons Technology, which was sold to Intuit for $64 million. Three years later, Parsons founded Internet domain registrar and web hosting company GoDaddy, where he served as executive chairman before stepping down in the summer of 2014. These days, with his wife Renee, he's focused on philanthropy.
The couple founded the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation in 2011 which says that it 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."
Parsons and Renee have given to a number of different human services outfits for children and adults in Phoenix, and Arizona at large. In a recent year, $1.5 million went to the Make a Wish Foundation of Arizona, where executive director of the Parsons Foundation Laura Mitchell once served as CFO/COO. Even more recently, the foundation gave $2.8 million to Make a Wish Arizona towards construction of a new Wish House. As well, in perhaps their largest individual gift to date, the couple recently gave $5.25 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix.
The couple has also supported Mission of Mercy, a mobile healthcare outfit that provides free treatment, Community Alliance Against Family Abuse, and Maggies Place Arizona Shelter. In a past year, the Parsons gave $5 million to UMOM New Day Centers to provide homeless families shelter. Another $3 million went to UMOM in a past year. 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."
Given Parsons' military background, the foundation has also supported veterans and public safety officers. Past 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 dedciated to "teaching civics and patriotism to America's students."
In health, the foundation gave $4.3 million to the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. Smaller sums have gone to the Community Dental Foundation, and the JDRF chapter in Phoenix. The couple has also supported 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.
Overall, the foundation has awarded over $121 million across 233 grants to 86 partners.
On their website, the foundation states that it is interested in partnering with nonprofits "successfully addressing issues associated with at-risk youth, homelessness, education, veterans’ needs, and medical care for underserved populations." Grantseekers should review the grants information page. It's worth noting that the foundation lists quite a few areas where it isn't looking for new partners; Those for instance looking for STEM support should look to GoDaddy Cares, which also does grantmaking in Phoenix and Arizona at large.
- Laura Mitchell, Executive Director