Press Release - January 31, 2017

Celebrating 10 Years: Case Study Examines Success of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s First Decade 

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Silicon Valley Community Foundation – together with pfc Social Impact Advisors – has published a case study to commemorate SVCF’s first 10 years. During this period, SVCF made more than $4.3 billion in grants and significantly expanded its charitable reach.

The new report provides details about how Silicon Valley Community Foundation was formed in 2007 from the merger of Peninsula Community Foundation and Community Foundation Silicon Valley, and how it has grown to become the largest funder of Bay Area charities and the largest community foundation in the world.

“Anniversaries are time to look back at what has been accomplished and to dream big about what can be done in the future,” said Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO and president of SVCF. “SVCF’s history of impact and growth means that we have the opportunity and responsibility to make significant impact in partnership with donors, corporations, nonprofits and government to make Silicon Valley and our world a better place.”

Following the historic merger of the two parent foundations, Silicon Valley Community Foundation began seeking public input on how it could best approach the challenges faced by the residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. SVCF’s discretionary grantmaking focus areas were announced in 2008, supporting local education, economic security, immigration and regional planning that improves transportation and housing systems. In addition to these vital issues, SVCF’s family of more than 2,000 donors have used their charitable funds at SVCF to support thousands of local, national and international charities across a wide range of interests, as the case study attests.

Among other achievements, SVCF passed a bill in the California Legislature that ends the unfair practice of “math misplacement,” which disproportionately held back Latino and black students. It has helped curtail predatory payday lending in dozens of local jurisdictions. SVCF grants have helped thousands of immigrants learn English and get high-quality legal services. And its initiatives on early childhood education, transportation and housing are breaking new ground to ensure the success and sustainability of the Silicon Valley region.

Gayle Peterson, co-founder and senior managing director of pfc Social Impact Advisors and an associate fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School, led the research and writing of the 10th anniversary case study. The report focuses on the most impactful and significant of SVCF’s accomplishments since 2007.

"Our research has examined the most successful philanthropic organizations in the world to understand the reasons for their success,” Peterson said. “With more than $8B in assets, SVCF is the world’s largest community foundation. In our research we observed several qualities that demonstrated that SVCF’s success isn't because of one person or one strategy. Its success is based on a deep belief in community-based solutions and an exceptional team devoted to high-quality services. This team is willing to own their mistakes and learn from their experiences. Finally, SVCF pushes the boundaries and has redefined what it means to be a community foundation—locally and globally."

SVCF will celebrate its 10th anniversary throughout 2017. As part of the commemoration, SVCF in December announced a special $1 million, competitive grantmaking initiative that will award 10 grants of up to $100,000 each to deserving organizations doing the most innovative and effective work to make our region a better place. Read more about this grantmaking initiative.

The full case study from SVCF and pfc can be viewed and downloaded at


About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at