Charitable giving by Silicon Valley philanthropists accelerated toward the end of the year amid expectations that Congress and the White House might strike a budget deal that capped or eliminated the deduction for charitable giving in 2013, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to a study commissioned by the Journal and conducted by compensation firm Equilar, Inc., Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg topped the list of Silicon Valley donors in 2012 with a December gift of eighteen million shares of Facebook stock valued at $498.8 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The second spot on the list was claimed by EBay and Omidyar Network founder Pierre Omidyar, who donated eBay stock valued at $441.3 million to various organizations and causes over the course of the year. The third and fourth spots were claimed by Google co-founders Sergey Brin ($222.9 million) and Larry Page ($185.6 million), followed by Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison ($45.4 million). Eight of the top ten Silicon Valley donors — including Zuckerberg, Omidyar, and Brin — donated more in stock in 2012 than they did in 2011.
A flurry of public stock offerings in 2012, including Facebook's highly publicized IPO in May, helped to boost charitable giving in the valley. For example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who gave $9.9 million to charity in 2012, was eighth on the list of Silicon Valley givers, just behind Guidewire Software director and valley veteran Craig Ramsey; Guidewire went public early in the year.
Executives at local charities report that giving by rank-and-file employees whose wealth is increasing also is on the upswing. Daniel Lurie, CEO and founder of Tipping Point Community, a San Francisco-based nonprofit working to reduce poverty in the Bay Area, told the Journal that the nonprofit had increased its donor base to thirteen hundred in 2011, up from a thousand in 2010, and expected the growth to continue in 2012. "You don't have to retire to make a difference," said Lurie.