Sheryl Sandberg

NET WORTH: $1.55 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: COO of Facebook, former Google executive, best-selling author

FUNDING AREAS: Women's Issues, Global Health, Poverty, Environment

OVERVIEW: Sandberg has been increasing her grantmaking, providing more indications of where her philanthropy may go in the future. She does some of her philanthropic grantmaking through the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, which supports the efforts of and

BACKGROUND: Sheryl Sandberg graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics, where then professor Larry Summers recruited her to be his research assistant at the World Bank. While there, Sandberg worked on projects dealing with health problems such as blindness, leprosy and AIDS in India. Later on, she went back to Harvard and earned an MBA. Shortly after earning her graduate degree, Sandberg and Summers reunited and she became his chief of staff while he served as secretary of the Department of the Treasury under President Clinton. Sandberg led the Treasury's work on forgiving debt in the developing world during the Asian financial crisis.

After her stint at the U.S. Treasury, Sandberg worked at Google, where she served as vice president of global online sales and operations. There, she was responsible for online sales of Google's advertising and publishing products and also ran Google Book Search. She was also instrumental in starting, the company's philanthropic arm. In 2008, Sandberg moved to Facebook as the company's COO, where she cultivated Facebook's philanthropic vision. In recent years, Sandberg has been named one of Fortune magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, and the Wall Street Journal's 50 Women to Watch. 


WOMEN'S CAUSES: In early 2013, Sandberg founded an organization called Lean In, which grew out of her bestselling book. Its mission is “to empower women to achieve their ambitions.” Lean In runs a network of more than 33,000 Lean In Circles worldwide and also engages in annual campaigns around specific gender equity issues. Sandberg sits on the board of Women for Women International, which has a humanitarian mission of helping women survivors of war become self-sufficient by providing microloans and job skills training. The charity works through a sponsorship model, in which a donor contributes a set amount each month and the sponsored "sister" gets the assistance she needs. 

In July 2017, she gave 590,000 shares of Facebook stock, at the time valued at around $98 million, to her donor-advised fund to benefit disadvantaged women and girls, as well as the Second Harvest Food Bank's "Stand Up for Kids" program, which Sandberg has supported since 2014. 

RESILIENCE: Sandberg’s new book, Option B, which was published in April 2017, focuses on themes of resilience, exploring "what it takes to help others through hardships: how to speak about the unspeakable, comfort friends in the wake of suffering, and create resilient workplaces, build robust marriages, and raise strong kids." The same month that Option B was published, Sandberg launched, which helps people dealing with a range of hardships, including grief and loss; health, illness and injury; abuse and sexual assault; divorce and family challenges; hate and violence; and incarceration. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Sandberg and her late husband, Dave Goldberg, signed the Giving Pledge in 2014, and she has set aside more wealth for her philanthropy. In November 2018, she gave another $50 million in Facebook stock to the donor-advised fund, some of which is expected to support the Dave Goldberg Scholarship Program. She also announced plans to create the Sandberg Goldberg Charitable Support Fund, although it is unclear exactly what she intends for it to support. With her wealth topping out at well over a $1 billion, expect her grantmaking to continue apace for years to come. 

CONTACT: Rachel Thomas, Cofounder and President, Lean In,

LINK: Lean In