More Than Money
Issue #12

Creative Giving

Table of Contents

“Learning To Leverage”

I first realized that I was becoming wealthy when I was an executive in the computer networking industry in Silicon Valley. A colleague who was enthusiastic about the pleasures of philanthropic work introduced me to the preparation and education necessary for intelligent use of earned wealth. This included becoming knowledgeable as an investor and philanthropist, and over several years I applied myself to developing sophistication about both.

As one of very few women to be an officer of a large, publicly held corporation, I developed a passion for creating greater opportunities for women and girls. Both philanthropy and investment became ways to act on this commitment. I attended a conference for women who expected to give more than one million dollars in their lifetime, and joined the Investor's Circle, an association of accredited investors working with entrepreneurs on socially responsible venture capital opportunities.

In my philanthropy I try to strategically influence structural and institutional change. For instance, I collaborated on a gift to Stanford business school. The gift was restricted to give economic resources that would, over time, produce new women faculty, including tenured professorships. It included curriculum development about women entrepreneurships, an endowed scholarship for a women PhD's, and junior faculty grants for extra research, travel, and writing on the route to tenure. I also funded development of a website for the Women's Sports Foundation to leverage their influence.

In combination with my philanthropy, venture investing enables me to provide women direct access to capital to realize their visions. I just invested in a woman-led venture capital fund-one of very few in the country-that is helping to build companies that are bringing together technology and health care.

As part of a venture capital fund the principals will invest in early stage enterprises, i.e. when the need for capital is critical and the risks are great. Venture investing requires a long term perspective and a high tolerance for risk. There can be nine losers for every one winner in a venture capital portfolio.

To me, philanthropy and investing are complementary methods of promoting social change-in my case, for leveraging resources for women and girls.

- anonymous author


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