I’m an individual philanthropist who’s also what I call a “pracademic”—part practitioner, part scholar. I’m also an author, with the publication of my new book, Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World (Wiley/Jossey-Bass, November 2011) and its related website, www.giving2.com.
My work as a practitioner began in the mid-1990s when I was looking for organization to join that could teach me how to give more strategically, help me learn through doing, and allow me to exchange experiences and knowledge with individuals who shared my passion.
Surveying the philanthropic landscape at the time, I could find no such organization. So I decided to found one—one that would also help a new generation of energetic and highly entrepreneurial young professionals start to give or give more effectively. The result was SV2: Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.
At SV2, donors—we call them “partners”—pool their money to give multi-year, organizational capacity building grants to nonprofits. We work with grantees to help them achieve their goals but not only by giving them money—our partners also invest time and expertise. In this way, partners not only help nonprofits deliver services more efficiently and expand their operations, they also build up their own knowledge and expertise. This can in turn be shared with SV2 partners and others. In essence, our model turbo-charges the process of learning how to give effectively.
Since then, I’ve been researching, creating, and piloting new ways of giving. I joined Stanford University and its Graduate School of Business’ faculty in 2000, and there I found an opportunity to create and teach classes that could prepare the new generation for careers in philanthropy and social innovation. I also created the Stanford PACS: The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society to bring together those who study social change and those who work in the field of social change.
But while my philanthropic activities are varied, they all serve a single mission, the one that’s my greatest passion—educating individual givers and helping further the philanthropic field. In helping others to become more effective, I want to create a ripple effect that extends the impact of my own philanthropic efforts. When others are more effective, so am I.
Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen is the Founder, Chairman Emeritus and former Chairman (1998-2008) of SV2 (Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund), a venture philanthropy fund that leverages its partners’ financial, intellectual, and human capital to make a measurable impact in the Silicon Valley community. Under her leadership, SV2 built a portfolio of more than 35 grantees and nearly 400 investors, and it won the Silicon Valley Association of Fundraising Professionals Philanthropic Organization of the Year in 2008.
Laura is the Founder and Board Chairman of Stanford PACS (Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society), a global research center committed to exploring ideas to create social change and publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). Laura has created and teaches Stanford Graduate School of Business’ first course on Strategic Philanthropy and Stanford University’s first course on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. Since 2000, Laura’s faculty appointments include Lecturer in Business Strategy at Stanford GSB; Lecturer in Public Policy; and Lecturer at Stanford School of Education.
Her New York Times bestselling book on individual giving, Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World (published by Wiley’s Jossey-Bass 2011) as well as her blog and website (www.giving2.com) empower individuals of all backgrounds, ages, and passions to make their giving matter more. Laura is also a contributing writer to Worth Magazine, the Huffington Post, SSIR and the book, Local Mission, Global Vision, and she has been featured on Charlie Rose, CNN with Erin Burnett, MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan, and CNBC Power Lunch.
Laura is the President of the Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation. She is a director of the Arrillaga Foundation and a board member of Sand Hill Foundation, Stanford University School of Education, SIEPR (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), Women’s Health at Stanford Medical Center, and an Advisory Council Member of the Global Philanthropy Forum. In 2008, Laura was selected as the only individual philanthropist in the Aspen Institute Philanthropy Group—an agenda-setting body of twenty national philanthropy leaders, who come together annually to identify issues that would benefit from sector-wide deliberation among grantees and grantors and among social enterprises and their investors—and the Donor Effectiveness Network—a group of 20 leaders committed to furthering the donor education field. Laura is a former Public Affairs Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She is a former trustee of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, The Hoover Institution, Community Foundation Silicon Valley, Castilleja School, Menlo School, Eastside Preparatory School, San Francisco Art Institute, and Children’s Health Council.
Laura holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an MA in Education from Stanford School of Education, and a BA and MA in Art History from Stanford University. A native of Palo Alto, California, Laura is a graduate of Castilleja School and was honored with its Distinguished Alumna Award in 2010. She received the 2001 Jacqueline Kennedy Award for Women in Leadership, and in April 2005, she became a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. She was also awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the Points of Light Foundation in June 2005 and Children and Family Services’ Outstanding Silicon Valley Philanthropist Award in 2009. In 2010, Laura was the first individual awarded SV2’s “Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Social Impact Award,” and in 2011, the World Affairs Council and its Global Philanthropy Forum honored her and her husband with the Global Citizen Award. Laura lives with her husband, technology entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, near Stanford University, and together they enjoy reading, art, writing, movies, yoga, athletics, and laughing as much as possible.