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The Launch of Giving 2.0 by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

The launch of Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen‘s new book Giving 2.0 was a festive event at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business yesterday.  It was open to the community, and I’d guess I was one of the first people to sign up to attend.

The Talk

(I’ll go a little out of chronological order, to get to the “meaty” part first.)

Challenging the notion of philanthropy as “something rich people do,” Laura offered her own definition of a philanthropist:


Laura started off with her personal inspiration for giving, the example of her parents Frances and John. She talked about the challenge of losing her mother to cancer, and the transformative experience that providing care to her had been.  She also talked about the significance that giving has in her new family, with her marriage to (Netscape, Opsware, and Ning founder) Marc Andreessen.

She wove in examples from the book from givers of different stages and scales:

  • Hector Chau, a retiree in Southern California, who uses his CPA skills to help needy people prepare their tax returns through Tax-Aide
  • Seema Bhende, an engineer in Seattle, who uses the Jolkona platform to support girls receiving computer training in South America (where $40 covers the expense of such a class).
  • Joon Yun ‘s support of Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative through Silicon Valley Social Ventures.
  • Her own family giving
The key thesis was the need for philanthropists (by her definition, all of us!) to move from “Giving 1.0” to “Giving 2.0” where the key is not *how much* you give, but *how* you give.  (“If the gift is significant to you as the giver, it has the capacity to be significant to the recipient as well.”)  She contrasted the change in giving style:
“Giving 1.0” “Giving 2.0”
Reactive Proactive
Sympathetic Strategic
Isolated Collaborative

She encouraged each of us to think about the causes that we were passionate about, to research them on the web, and make sure that the gifts that we were giving were going to organizations that tracked their impact and reported it back, so that we as givers would also feel a greater connection to the outcome.

She talked about the current times of economic challenge, and pointed out that this was when were called to be most generous, when the need was the greatest.  She provided examples at different scales:

  •  Global:  2 Billion people live on less than $2/day
  •  National (US):  1 in 8 people received emergency food aid last year
  •  State (CA):  1 in 4 children live in poverty (Family of 4 making less than $22,000/year)
  •  Local (Palo Alto / East Palo Alto):  Of the population over age 25 in East Palo Alto, only 18% have a high school diploma
She closed with a plea for the audience members to think about how they could move their giving to the “2.0” model, and also use their influence (networks and advocacy) to make the world a better place.  Laura did some giving of her own:  In addition to sharing her wisdom and ideas, she gave each of the event attendees a copy of the book.

The Event

Held in the CEMEX auditorium of the Knight Management Center of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the launch attracted several hundred people to witness the contributions that Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen has made to philanthropy, especially her latest, the authoring of this new book.

In her brief welcome, Kim Meredith, the director of the Stanford Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) center, gave some high level statistics about the importance of philanthropy and acknowledged the extensive list of luminaries and major philanthropic organizations that were attending as co-sponsors of the event.

Jim Canales, the President and CEO of the James Irvine Foundation introduced Laura.  Laura needed little introduction in this venue, as she is a respected and beloved member of the philanthropic community, both as a seasoned giver and an academic who has had a significant impact in helping to shape how philanthropy is researched and presented.

A few key highlights:

  • Earned 4 degrees from Stanford (undergraduate, two masters, and an MBA from the GSB).  While the whole Knight Management Center is new since the time she was a student, it was still something of a “home coming” to present at the GSB.
  • Served as President of two family foundations:   Arrillaga Family Foundation and the newly created Marc and Laura Andreessen Foundation.  The first has transformed Stanford campus (Arrillaga Alumni Center, Arrillaga Family Dining Commons, Arrillaga Family Sports Center, Stanford Stadium) and made significant donations to other schools and athletics.  The second has supported medical emergency services and transformation of the field and practice of philanthropy.
  • Created Silicon Valley Social Venture (SV2) an early “giving circle” to help the new generation of tech entrepreneurs and workers get engaged in philanthropy, giving both of their material wealth and the skills that helped them achieve that wealth.
  • Joined the faculty of the Stanford GSB, teaching courses about philanthropy, and helping to establish the academic grounding, by writing case studies and convoking conferences on the topic. (I was able to audit her course when I was a visiting scholar in 2004.  She gave informative lectures, and brought in great guest speakers.  I blogged about many of the class meetings (for example, the first lecture)  in my previous RDVP-focused blog, newly re-constructed at http://ketchpel-rdvp.blogspot.com .  This course certainly influenced my own thinking about giving, and introduced me to key concepts and people  especially in the strategic, venture philanthropy tradition.)
  • Established the Stanford Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) Center, and serves as its Chair.

The Future of Giving 2.0

Although the book is building on a decade of scholarship and practice, it seems clear that this is just the first step of a bigger project for Laura.  The bookmark included with our free copies read “Giving 2.0:  a book / a website / a movement”.  While the website  is live, there are lots of features that are “coming soon,” like Giving Circle startup materials (and hosting platform, perhaps?), your online giving journal, a how-to for sharing the values with your children.

Laura has also pledged to give 100% of the author royalties of the book to proactive, strategic, collaborative non-profits.  Information is still forthcoming, but I’d imagine there will be a crowd-sourcing aspect to it.

Given the technical savvy level of Laura (and her husband) I’d assume that the Giving 2.0 will either launch as or morph into a major resource for sharing information about non-profits, giving strategies, and the key information that philanthropists (all of us) need to make the world a better place.

Congratulations, Laura!