Elsewhere online
September 01, 2015

Tech Mogul Tries New Model to Draw Silicon Valley Giving

A successful technology entrepreneur has launched a foundation that aims to reshape Silicon Valley philanthropy by steering donations to the kind of small social-service charities typically overlooked by the tech set, the San Francisco Chronicle writes.

Alexandre Mars's Epic Foundation unveiled a portfolio Tuesday of 20 vetted groups working on youth issues around the world that it will recommend to wealthy donors, who research shows tend to favor larger, more familiar nonprofits. A native Frenchman now based in New York, Mr. Mars is funding Epic's first year of operation with $1.5 million of his own money, allowing it to channel 100 percent of donor funds to the participating charities.

Mr. Mars began ramping up his philanthropic work after selling an instant-messaging service to Blackberry in 2013. He said his background as a tech-focused venture capitalist gives him an edge in pitching potential recipients to donors. "They don't see me as someone coming from another world saying, 'Oh, you need to trust us with this vision.' They see me as a peer," he said.

Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article on Epic Foundation's development.