Non-profit

Sobrato Foundation

Website:

www.sobrato.com/sobrato-philanthropies/

Location:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA

Tax ID:

80-0091312

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $6,331,852
Expenses: $3,215,027
Assets: $41,195,124

The Sobrato Family Foundation is a grantmaking foundation based in Silicon Valley. It is the private foundation of real estate developer John A. Sobrato and is run by his daughter Lisa Sobrato Sonsini.

While the foundation makes most of its investments in the Silicon Valley area and in traditional areas of philanthropy such as education, children’s services, and food banks, it has given grants to numerous left-of-center organizations. Among the left-of-center organizations that have received donations from the foundation are the New Venture Fund and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. [1]

In 2017, the foundation awarded $275,000 in grants to organizations that fought the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. [2] In 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sobrato Family Foundation joined a coalition of philanthropic organizations in creating aid programs for illegal immigrant workers in Silicon Valley. [3]

Overview

The Sobrato Family Foundation is a grantmaking foundation based in Silicon Valley. It is the private foundation of real estate developer John A. Sobrato and his family. [4] The foundation was established in 1996 by John A. Sobrato and his daughter, Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, as a way to unify the Sobrato family’s philanthropic giving. The Sobrato Family Foundation awarded more than $10 million in grants in its first five years of operation. [5]

The foundation does most of its work in Silicon Valley. Most of its philanthropy is targeted at helping the less fortunate improve their living standards. It also makes many contributions related to education, donating to universities, private schools, and charter schools. [6]

Between 1996 and 2012, the foundation gave away over $238 million. Nearly a quarter of that giving was on education causes. Most of the foundation’s giving has been focused on general support instead of funding specific programs. [7]

Immigration

In 2017, the foundation launched several programs in the wake of the Trump administration announcing it would cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that exempted certain illegal immigrants from removal and granted them work authorization. The foundation established a new fund worth $150,000 for current foundation grantees which could be used to reimburse application fees for DACA recipients. The foundation also awarded $25,000 each to five organizations: Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo, Community Legal Services of East Palo Alto, Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN) of San Jose, and Catholic Charities of San Jose that provide legal services for DACA recipients. [8]

In 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sobrato Family Foundation gave money away to help illegal immigrants. The Sobrato Family Foundation gave $3 million to help illegal immigrants in Santa Clara County. The Sobrato Family Foundation helped coordinate an effort to raise and distribute over $10 million in $1,000 grants to illegal immigrants. Contributors included Facebook, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Grove Foundation, and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. [9]

Leadership

Lisa Sobrino Sonsini is the board chair. She is the co-founder of the foundation and works on children’s issues. She is the daughter of John A. Sobrato. [10]

Sandy Herz is the president of the foundation. Previously, she was the vice president of the Skoll Foundation. [11]

Finances

According to the 2019 Sobrato Family Foundation tax return, the foundation received a grant of over $275.8 million, distributed $39.6 million in grants, and had $576.5 million in assets. [12]

Among the grants the organization made was $300,000 to the ACLU Foundation, $175,000 to the New Venture Fund, and $22.25 million to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. [13]

In February 2020, the Sobrato Family Foundation sold two buildings it owned in order to raise $293 million. Most of that money was going to be given away through the foundation. [14]

The Sobrato Family Foundation has given grants to left-leaning groups such as the California Budget and Policy Center, Californians for Justice Education Fund, Grameen America, New Venture Fund, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. [15]

References

  1. “Community Grantees”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/sobrato-philanthropies/our-giving/our-grantees/. ^
  2. Ochs, Alyssa, and David Callahan. 2017. “Defending The Dream: Who’S Giving Grants For DACA Right Now?”. Inside Philanthropy. https://web.archive.org/web/20200509174316if_/https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/9/27/defending-the-dream-whos-giving-grants-for-daca-right-now. ^
  3. “John Sobrato’s Call To Arms: “If Not Now — When?””. 2010. The Nob Hill Gazette. https://nobhillgazette.com/if-not-now-when/. ^
  4. “About Sobrato Philanthropies”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/sobrato-philanthropies/about/. ^
  5. Knoerle, Jane. 2003. “Lisa Sobrato Sonsini Believes In Sharing Her Good Fortune With Others”. The Almanac. https://www.almanacnews.com/morgue/2003/2003_12_31.snsni.shtml. ^
  6. “About Sobrato Philanthropies”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/sobrato-philanthropies/about/. ^
  7.  Ochs, Alyssa. 2014. “Meet Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, A Driving Force Behind The Sobrato Family Foundation”. Inside Philanthropy. https://web.archive.org/web/20160201051652/https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2014/6/17/meet-lisa-sobrato-sonsini-a-driving-force-behind-the-sobrato.html. ^
  8. Ochs, Alyssa, and David Callahan. 2017. “Defending The Dream: Who’S Giving Grants For DACA Right Now?”. Inside Philanthropy. https://web.archive.org/web/20200509174316if_/https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2017/9/27/defending-the-dream-whos-giving-grants-for-daca-right-now. ^
  9. “John Sobrato’s Call To Arms: “If Not Now — When?””. 2010. The Nob Hill Gazette. https://nobhillgazette.com/if-not-now-when/. ^
  10. “Lisa Sobrato Sonsini”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/people/lisa-sonsini/. ^
  11. “Sandy Herz”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/people/sandy-herz/. ^
  12. “Form 990”. 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/770348912/03_2021_prefixes_77-82%2F770348912_201912_990PF_2021030917789142. ^
  13.  “Form 990”. 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/770348912/03_2021_prefixes_77-82%2F770348912_201912_990PF_2021030917789142. ^
  14. “$293 Million: Sobrato Wheels And Deals With Big Santa Clara Buildings”. 2020. Marin Independent Journal. https://www.marinij.com/2020/02/18/293-million-sobrato-wheels-deals-big-santa-clara-buildings-tech-real-estate-servicenow/. ^
  15. “Community Grantees”. 2021. Sobrato. Accessed August 16. https://www.sobrato.com/sobrato-philanthropies/our-giving/our-grantees/. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2004

  • 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
    2019 Dec Form 990 $6,331,852 $3,215,027 $41,195,124 $2,240,270 N $5,000,000 $1,186,672 $93,950 $0 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $4,068,234 $81,322,446 $37,773,773 $3,175,125 N $106,772 $1,201,845 $1,612,200 $0 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $78,338,921 $2,641,943 $120,369,338 $180,361 N $76,392,875 $1,169,248 $774,547 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $12,529,212 $3,276,126 $36,639,492 $192,924 N $11,312,515 $1,206,599 $9,935 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $4,433,846 $2,995,445 $27,354,417 $204,145 N $3,300,213 $1,128,782 $6,670 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,181,551 $3,528,509 $25,846,830 $196,060 N $1,000,035 $1,174,369 $7,140 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $-894,709 $4,151,643 $27,196,956 $199,159 N $1,850,000 $1,203,610 $1,455 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $6,818,663 $5,363,797 $32,039,958 $482,769 N $4,700,000 $1,745,600 $3,828 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,308,571 $590,119 $30,428,455 $321,633 N $3,933,000 $0 $12,761 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Sobrato Foundation

    2440 W EL CAMINO REAL STE 300
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA 94040-1498