Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen: Tech Grants

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Heir to John Arrillaga's real estate fortune (net worth $1.9 billion), wife of venture capitalist Marc Andreessen.

FUNDING AREAS: Community issues, education, health, environment, and international development

OVERVIEW: Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen doesn't just practice philanthropy. She teaches classes on the subject at Stanford. She founded the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, or SV2, and continues as chairperson emeritus, and launched the Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation, which helps philanthropists give more effectively.

BACKGROUND: The wife of Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is anything but conventional. When Laura Arrillaga first met her future husband, she didn't care about how much money he had or how he made his millions. Instead, she asked him whether and how he was giving his money away." One of the first questions I asked him on the night we met was what he was doing philanthropically," she told a New York Times reporter.

For Arrillaga-Andreessen, philanthropy isn't just an idle pursuit. Even before she married her husband in 2005, Arrillaga-Andreessen was independently wealthy, and apparently she felt strongly enough about giving back that she spent her formative years trying to figure out the best ways to do so. Arrillaga-Andreessen has spent much of her life at Stanford University, earning a BA, two MAs, and an MBA trying to learn the best way to donate a fortune.

Since 2000, she has served on the Stanford Graduate School of Business’s faculty teaching courses on how to conduct strategic philanthropy. She also serves as founder and chairman of the board of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, or Stanford PACS, a think tank designed to explore new ideas to create social change; and is a fellow at the Aspen Institute. She's also written a book about philanthropy entitled Giving 2.0: Transform Your Giving and Our World, has penned numerous pieces for charitable organizations she's affiliated with and the Huffington Post, and practices her philanthropy as a member of the following boards and forums:

  • Sand Hill Foundation

  • Arrillaga Foundation

  • Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation

  • Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation

  • Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

SV2: This organization is a consortium of some 200 partners who help direct grants focusing on international development, health, education and the environment. SV2 is the second-largest venture philanthropy organization in the world. It does more than just make grants, working directly with grantees through speaking engagements and training programs.

SAND HILL FOUNDATION: This is a private family foundation, established by Tom and Susan Ford, that makes grants to organizations benefiting the San Francisco Peninsula.

LAURA ARRILLAGA-ANDREESSEN FOUNDATION (LAAF): Arrillaga-Andreessen launched the LAAF "to serve as a philanthropic innovation lab, and use technology to globally scale open-source educational innovations to positively influence how it is people give." The foundation also supports women’s leadership and more inclusive leadership.


HEALTH: The first major gift that Laura and her husband made as a couple was a $27.5 million donation in 2007 to the Stanford Hospital to provide emergency services. After giving a lot of thought to what their first major gift as a couple would be, they chose emergency services because they wanted to give back in their community, and emergency programs are essential and often lifesaving yet are traditionally underfunded.

LOOKING FORWARD: If you want a grant from one of the many organizations Laura is involved with, you'll have to be a cutting-edge philanthropic entrepreneur, not just a run-of-the-mill charity. She's not the type to just give money and hope it does some good: she wants the maximum return on her investment and has spent much of her life trying to figure out how to achieve it. While she thinks big picture, though, she still does a lot at the local level as well.

CONTACT: LAAF Contact Page