The Yellow Chair Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Yahoo! cofounder David Filo and his wife Angela. The foundation held nearly $230 million in assets in a recent year, and has given a little under $10 million annually of late. We recently wrote about the Filos' support of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, and while environmental issues and climate change are important to the couple, the Filos have several other interests as well.
Why is it worth taking a closer look at the Filos' giving? Because David Filo is worth over $2 billion and, in our observation, the giving of tech leaders tends to increase over time. The Filos have already put significant assets into their foundation and, at some point in the future, Yellow Chair may well emerge as an important medium-sized foundation.
Right now, the foundation still doesn't have a website, or a clear way for grantseekers to get in touch, but here are a few must-knows about the couple's grantmaking:
1. The Filos Have Supported Higher Education and K-12 Education Reform
In higher education, the couple's alma maters are big winners. Filo's undergraduate alma mater, Tulane, received a large $30 million gift last decade. Meanwhile, Filo and Angela both attended Stanford, where Angela recently joined the board of trustees. The Yellow Chair Foundation has recently supported Stanford University Bing Nursery School and Stanford University (at least $5 million in 2012, and more than $1.3 million in 2013). In 2014, the Filos endowed a faculty chair for the study of poverty and inequality in education. The foundation has given sums to UC Berkeley supporting Berkeley's journalism school, where Angela received her degree.
The couple has also supported education reform. They've given money to 826 National, a nonprofit that helps "students, ages 6 to 18, with expository and creative writing at seven locations across the U.S.A." Other recent grantees include IMentor, College Track, and Eastside College Preperatory School (more than $400,000 in 2013), where Angela used to teach journalism and photography. The Filos also bankrolled the K12 Start Fund, which aims to increase early funding for education technology companies.
2. The Couple Has Been Supportive of Journalism
Apart from efforts at UC Berkeley, such as supporting student fellowships for the graduate school of journalism, the couple has also supported ProPublica, the investigative reporting outfit which fellow Bay Area philanthropists Herb and the late Marion Sandler helped bankroll. The Filos have also given to Donorschoose.org, which allows individuals to donate directly to public school projects. Some of this philanthropy involves high school journalism. As well, the couple supports the Journalism Education Association at Kansas State University, which "supports free and responsible scholastic journalism."
3. They've Given Money to Other Causes, Too
Recent money out of the Yellow Chair Foundation has supported the ACLU Foundation of Northern California (at least $1.25 million in 2012 and 2013 each). The couple is also interested in women's advocacy, with recent money going to the Global Fund for Women. Support has also gone to the Global Giving Foundation.
Filo is only 49 and is still very much involved in business, but with a fortune of over $2 billion, he and Angela are a Bay Area tech couple worth watching closely for greater giving down the line.
Related: David Filo Profile