Silicon Valley Venture Firm Pledges to Boost Giving in Area

To help boost philanthropic giving by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, six general partners at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz have pledged to give half their lifetime earnings from their VC activities to charity, Reuters reports.

In a region where successful serial entrepreneurs tend to focus on their current venture, giving while living has not been a high priority. "It certainly applies to me," said partner Marc Andreessen about the years when he built up pioneering Internet company Netscape. "It's difficult to have a split focus when you're doing something that difficult."

To kick-start their campaign, the partners at Andreessen Horowitz have pledged a total of $1 million to six Silicon Valley nonprofits: urban tree-planting nonprofit Canopy; the Ecumenical Hunger Program; Fresh Lifelines for Youth, which works to break the cycle of violence, crime, and incarceration among area teens; hunger-relief charity Second Harvest; the Shelter Network, which provides housing and support services for the homeless; and Via Services, which works with disabled and special-needs individuals.

Inspired in part by the Giving Pledge campaign created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, the partners' decision to pledge half their future earnings to charitable cause came, said Andreessen, after discussions held over several months. The decision also was influenced by Andreessen's wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, whose recently published book Giving 2.0 has struck a chord with many high-net-worth individuals. "The idea behind [the firm's pledge] is to lead by example," said Ben Horowitz. "It's a show of appreciation for everyone in Silicon Valley."