Non-profit

Battery Foundation

Website:

www.thebatterysf.com/batterypowered

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

46-5476017

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $4,855,332
Expenses: $4,222,694
Assets: $3,810,034

Founders:

Michael and Xochi Birch

The Battery Foundation (Battery Powered) is a left-of-center organization associated with The Battery, a private club in San Francisco founded by Michael and Xochi Birch. [1]

The Battery is a members-only social club, while Battery Powered is the associated charitable arm for club members. Battery Powered is designed to bring club members together to make charitable donations to in areas including environmentalism, gun control, and anti-poverty efforts. [2]

Founders

Michael and Xochi Birch are a married couple with a net worth of $390 million. [3] Michael Birch was a British computer programmer and entrepreneur before he came to the United States. Birch launched six technology startups over just 15 years. [4] Birch created Bebo in 2005, which became the sixth-largest website in Britain. [5] Birch sold Bebo to AOL for $850 million in 2008 and later bought it back from AOL for $1 million in 2013. [6]

Xochi Birch is a native of Los Angeles. [7] She spearheaded The Battery’s charitable arm, Battery Powered. [8]

Michael and Xochi Birch continue to run the startup incubator Monkey Inferno and other small technology companies. The couple have also used Monkey Inferno in service of their charitable endeavors, using the company as a fundraising tool to establish Water Forward, a social media awareness campaign raising concerns about a lack of clean water. [9]

The Battery

The Battery is a private, members-only club for wealthy people living in San Francisco established in 2013 by Xochi and Michael Birch. [10]

The Birches said they opened club to inspire “forward thinking minds” to encouraging people working in the technology industry to collaborate with those in other industries. [11] The New York Times has described The Battery as adding a “dash of British exclusivity and decorum to the land of billionaire geeks and schlubby bro-grammers.” [12]

Upon opening, the club had a $2,400 annual fee for membership, and capped membership at 1,200 people. [13] A new member must first be nominated by an existing member before joining. [14] The club’s membership reportedly reached 4,800 by 2017. [15]

The club is named for its meeting location at 717 Battery Street, a 58,000-square-foot structure in San Francisco’s financial district. [16] The location previously housed a candy warehouse and marble mill. [17] The Battery also runs a magazine for its members called Battery Candy. [18]

Battery Powered

Inspired by their work in financing “charity:water,” a nonprofit that promotes clean water in developing countries, the Birches established Battery Powered in 2014 as a new tier of membership to promote charitable giving within the existing social club. [19] Battery Powered members find and fund charitable causes, suggesting grant recipients to fellow members. [20]

Battery Powered reached a $15 million milestone four years after its founding, providing donations to more than 80 organizations. [21]

Colleen Gregerson, the executive director of Battery Powered, said the nonprofit’s goal is help break down barriers people have to getting involved with philanthropy, such as feeling too young, not being able to give enough, or having concerns about making uninformed philanthropic contributions. [22]

Battery Powered has donated to charitable causes including global poverty alleviation, early childhood education, mental health, arts, women’s health, workforce development, childhood nutrition, and homelessness. Battery Powered has also made contributions in left-of-center issue areas including prison reform, environmentalism, and gun control. [23] The organization highlights as one of its successes that its grants have encouraged 500,000 people signed up for Calfresh, the California food stamps program and provided donor education to 600 people through events and online engagements. [24]

The Battery Foundation has funded several gun control organizations, including the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Youth Alive. [25] [26]

Each year of giving for Battery Powered is broken into trimesters of four months, each devoted to a single theme. The first trimester is focused on a local issue, the second on a national issue, and the third on a worldwide issue. For each four-month period, there are events, speeches, and publications to educate members on the given issue. The group accepts grant applications from organizations specializing in the given issue area, narrows the pool of applicants to 12 finalists, then awards a grant based on members’ suggestions. [27]

Battery Powered has 600 members, about 200 of whom are active in each theme. [28]

Leadership

Xochi Birch is the president of the board of Battery Powered, while Michael Birch sits as board treasurer. Other board members include Dan Kingsley, Jamie Allison, Suzan Canli, and Jeni Izuel. [29]

Colleen Gregerson is the executive director of Battery Powered. [30]

References

  1. Battery Funders. LinkedIn. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/company/battery-powered-giving/about/ ^
  2. Battery Funders. LinkedIn. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/company/battery-powered-giving/about/ ^
  3. “Tech Philanthropists: Michael and Xochi Birch.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/guide-to-individual-donors/tag/Battery+Powered ^
  4. “Tech Philanthropists: Michael and Xochi Birch.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/guide-to-individual-donors/tag/Battery+Powered ^
  5. “Tech Philanthropists: Michael and Xochi Birch.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/guide-to-individual-donors/tag/Battery+Powered ^
  6. Marikar, Sheila. “At a Bay Area Club, Exclusivity Is Tested.” The New York Times. January 10, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/fashion/San-Francisco-club-Battery-Michael-Birch-Xochi-Birch.html ^
  7. Adeniji, Ade. “Battery Powered: A Tech Winner Aims to Break Down Barriers to Giving.” Inside Philanthropy. January 25, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2018/1/25/battery-powered-a-tech-winner-brings-together-the-social-club-and-giving-circle ^
  8. Gamerman, Amy. “Michael and Xochi Birch: A Digital City’s Duke and Duchess.” The Wall Street Journal. December 18, 2014. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/michael-and-xochi-birch-a-digital-citys-duke-and-duchess-1418916784 ^
  9. “Tech Philanthropists: Michael and Xochi Birch.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/guide-to-individual-donors/tag/Battery+Powered ^
  10. McDowell, Maghan. “The Battery’s New Charge: Four Years Later is City Buying Into the Private Club?” San Francisco Chronicle. December 15, 2017. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/The-Battery-s-new-charge-Four-years-later-is-12434312.php ^
  11. McDowell, Maghan. “The Battery’s New Charge: Four Years Later is City Buying Into the Private Club?” San Francisco Chronicle. December 15, 2017. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/The-Battery-s-new-charge-Four-years-later-is-12434312.php ^
  12. Marikar, Sheila. “At a Bay Area Club, Exclusivity Is Tested.” The New York Times. January 10, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/fashion/San-Francisco-club-Battery-Michael-Birch-Xochi-Birch.html ^
  13. Gross, Aniesse. “A New Private Club in San Francisco, and an Old Diversity Challenge.” The New Yorker. October 9, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-new-private-club-in-san-francisco-and-an-old-diversity-challenge ^
  14. Marikar, Sheila. “At a Bay Area Club, Exclusivity Is Tested.” The New York Times. January 10, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/fashion/San-Francisco-club-Battery-Michael-Birch-Xochi-Birch.html ^
  15. James, Scott. “What to in San Francisco When You’re Wealthy?” The New York Times. November 9, 2017. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/your-money/san-francisco-wealth-clubs.html ^
  16. Marikar, Sheila. “At a Bay Area Club, Exclusivity Is Tested.” The New York Times. January 10, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/fashion/San-Francisco-club-Battery-Michael-Birch-Xochi-Birch.html ^
  17. Gross, Aniesse. “A New Private Club in San Francisco, and an Old Diversity Challenge.” The New Yorker. October 9, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-new-private-club-in-san-francisco-and-an-old-diversity-challenge ^
  18. McDowell, Maghan. “The Battery’s New Charge: Four Years Later is City Buying Into the Private Club?” San Francisco Chronicle. December 15, 2017. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/The-Battery-s-new-charge-Four-years-later-is-12434312.php ^
  19. Adeniji, Ade. “Battery Powered: A Tech Winner Aims to Break Down Barriers to Giving.” Inside Philanthropy. January 25, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2018/1/25/battery-powered-a-tech-winner-brings-together-the-social-club-and-giving-circle ^
  20. About. Battery Powered. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.thebatterysf.com/batterypowered/about ^
  21. Sweeney, Katie. “Battery Powered Is Paving The Way For A Whole New Type Of Giving.” Haute Living. April 19, 2019. https://hauteliving.com/2019/04/battery-club-philanthropy/668953/ ^
  22. Adeniji, Ade. “Battery Powered: A Tech Winner Aims to Break Down Barriers to Giving.” Inside Philanthropy. January 25, 2018. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2018/1/25/battery-powered-a-tech-winner-brings-together-the-social-club-and-giving-circle ^
  23. Battery Funders. LinkedIn. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/company/battery-powered-giving/about/ ^
  24. Battery Foundation. Charity Navigator. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.charitynavigator.org/ein/465476017 ^
  25. Combos, Lucas. “Washington Gun Safety Laws Get ‘B+’ On Annual Scorecard.” Patch. February 14, 2020. https://patch.com/washington/across-wa/washington-gun-safety-laws-get-b-annual-scorecard ^
  26. “Tech Philanthropists: Michael and Xochi Birch.” Inside Philanthropy. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/guide-to-individual-donors/tag/Battery+Powered ^
  27. Sweeney, Katie. “Battery Powered Is Paving The Way For A Whole New Type Of Giving.” Haute Living. April 19, 2019. https://hauteliving.com/2019/04/battery-club-philanthropy/668953/ ^
  28. Sweeney, Katie. “Battery Powered Is Paving The Way For A Whole New Type Of Giving.” Haute Living. April 19, 2019. https://hauteliving.com/2019/04/battery-club-philanthropy/668953/ ^
  29. Battery Foundation. Nonprofit Light. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://nonprofitlight.com/ca/san-francisco/battery-foundation ^
  30. Team. Battery Powered. Accessed October 31, 2020. https://www.thebatterysf.com/batterypowered/team ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $4,855,332 $4,222,694 $3,810,034 $1,418,162 N $4,819,027 $0 $36,305 $245,533 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $4,737,487 $4,802,039 $3,798,936 $2,039,702 N $4,737,487 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $4,667,863 $4,426,549 $4,311,776 $2,487,990 N $4,667,863 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,976,553 $394,081 $1,582,472 $0 Y $1,976,553 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Battery Foundation

    400 PACIFIC AVENUE
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94133-4646