Craigslist founder to donate millions to military and veteran charities
Craigslist has remained largely unchanged for more than a decade, but its founder, Craig Newmark, has changed a lot since he started the site in 2006. In 2015, he used the earnings from the site to start Craig Newmark Philanthropies (CNP) with the idea of promoting cybersecurity, press freedom and veteran welfare.
His latest effort is making good on his intention to support veterans and their families. CNP is donating $100 million to charities that support vets and military families, beginning with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Blue Star Families. Those two nonprofits are huge supporters of the military-veteran community, but Craig is just getting started.
“Our country is at risk... We need to protect the institutions and the people who dedicate their lives to service – and that includes everyone who has put on the uniform, as well as their families and caregivers,” Newmark said in a statement.
To help protect those institutions, CNP will be giving away $100 million in the form of grants, including $10 million to the Bob Woodruff Foundation and $10 million to Blue Star Families. As the federal government works to combat some of the biggest issues facing veterans today, Newmark and his philanthropic nonprofit will give more money to other organizations to complement those federal efforts.
Issues like mental health, food security, housing, education, and employment top the list of Craig Newmark Philanthropies’ biggest issues. On top of donations to the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Blue Star Families, CNP has already given away another $42 million to tackle those problems. The rest of the pledged funds are expected to be doled out over the next three years.
Newmark founded Craigslist in 1995 to share local events with friends. Since then, it has propelled Newmark to Forbes’ billionaires list. Today, its value might be in decline, but it’s still the top classified site on the internet. In 2022 alone, the site earned an estimated $486 million in revenues with 200 million annual users. Its founder has since publicly stated he wants to give away all of the profits he earns from the website.
After grants are distributed by CNP, the nonprofit will regularly reevaluate the progress its funds have been making. Moreover, CNP and its partner organizations intend to run nationwide surveys to reevaluate the biggest problems facing the military-veteran community and the people who are a part of it. The results of those surveys will then be announced to government officials and community leaders with the hope of generating more engagement.
Although Craig’s support comes in the form of grants, the potential uses the money has for nonprofit organizations whose missions align with CNP goals could mean new avenues for veteran employment and education, especially in the areas of cybersecurity.The money could also go to organizations whose mission tackles the more basic aspects of life needs, such as finding food and housing for veterans while working to prevent veteran suicide.
CNP will then not only monitor the uses of the funding, but will also be on hand to champion the programs funded by the grants, using events, press, and roundtable discussions. With repeated surveys and a network of partnerships, the multimillion-dollar effort is intended to continually address the problems veterans face.
Newmark has never personally served in the military but cares deeply for military members and their families, saying “It’s hard to ask someone to do their best if they’re worried about their family back home… this just feels right.”