SAN FRANCISCO—Napster founder turned venture capitalist, Sean Parker, announced the official launch of The Parker Foundation on Wednesday, June 24. Parker contributed $600 million to the foundation that will focus on three broad areas: life sciences, global public health, and civic engagement. The foundation will be based in San Francisco.
Parker believes that the global issues that society faces are due to systematic failures. The broadness of the foundations’ areas will provide a large scale on what the foundation can tackle. Parker released this statement challenging the traditional approach of philanthropists. “In order to achieve scale and leverage, the philanthropists who take on these challenges will need to search for fresh answers to these problems and aggressively implement the solutions they discover,” said Parker.
Given the mainstream success of Silicon Valley start-ups, the foundation hopes to use those familiar tactics to confront and solve societal issues. Parker stated that “…we must move fast, make concentrated bets based on our convictions, have the courage to make mistakes and learn from them.”
Parker was named one of Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 2015 Top Five Givers due to the original $550 million donation made to The Parker Foundation. Parker has since gifted an additional $50 million totaling out to $600 million.
Parker recently donated $24 million to start the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University and $4.5 million gifted to aid in new discoveries of malaria annihilation efforts at the University of California-San Francisco.
Parker plans to sit as chairman and will be involved in the activity of the foundation from the setup of programs to creating partnerships. “We will be disciplined in selecting problems that we are uniquely equipped to solve,” Parker said. “Our projects may take years or even decades but they will be achievable in our lifetime.”