Real estate mogul Dennis J. Wong was college roommates at Harvard with billionaire Steve Ballmer. Maybe there was something special about that dorm room: Ballmer owns the Los Angeles Clippers, and Wong is a part owner of rival NBA team the Golden State Warriors. Beyond basketball, Wong made his money as co-founder of San Francisco-based developer SPI Holdings, now Verbena Road Holdings.
It’s unclear how much he’s worth, but Wong and his wife Shannon engage in philanthropy through their Desa Wong Foundation, which focuses its grantmaking on Bay Area institutions. In a recent year, the foundation gave away close to $2 million. Unfortunately for grantseekers, the foundation maintains a low public profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals.
Lately, health has been a top priority of the Wong family’s grantmaking. The couple has supported the Chinese Hospital, as well as places like Lucile Packard Foundation and Asian Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS).
The Wongs, via their foundation, have also supported Bay Area schools like Garfield Elementary, KIPP Bay Area Schools, Menlo School, Moreau Catholic High School, The Nueva School (Wong is a former board chair), and Oakland Military Institute.
The foundation’s grantmaking has also supported arts and cultural institutions in the Bay Area like SF MOMA (Wong serves on the board), and San Francisco Symphony. In human services, grantees include the San Francisco Food Bank and Tipping Point Community.