The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people.
Mark Heising and Liz Simons each grew up with a tradition of giving, learning about the importance of the communities that surrounded them, and of the value of philanthropy. They met at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1979. Liz earned her masters in education from Stanford University, became a Spanish-bilingual teacher, and founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a spring-summer early childhood education program. Mark earned his master’s in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, became a chip design engineer, and went on to hold six U.S. patents. In 2007, they established the Foundation, and were later joined on the board by their daughter, Caitlin Heising. In 2016, Liz and Mark joined the Giving Pledge, publicly committing the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. You can read the letter they wrote about why they joined here.
The Heising-Simons Foundation is a proud member of Glasspockets, a service of the Foundation Center that champions philanthropic transparency in an online world.
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In Spring 2022, the Foundation engaged The Center for Effective Philanthropy to conduct a Grantee Perception Report, a confidential survey of our grantees designed to help us continue to improve as a funder and a partner.
View the 2022 Grantee Perception Report
Meet the Foundation’s staff
Discover the Foundation's history with this interactive timeline
Learn more about the Foundation’s staff and grantee demographics
Learn more about the Foundation’s commitment and orientation toward equity in their work
Review the Foundation’s financial documents and policies
Learn more about the Foundation’s sustainability practices
Come join us
Explore interactive tools showing the Foundation’s dollars awarded by year and by program
We recognize that we don’t have all the answers, and we seek to be open-minded and responsive as we continually learn.
We do not shy away from tough issues. We stand with our grantees and partners and speak out on the issues we care about as a foundation.
We believe all people should be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.
We believe all people deserve the chance to live up to their full potential.
We commit to long-term progress and solutions.
We believe in creativity and novel approaches driven by curiosity, research, and strategic collaborations. We are willing to take risks on potentially breakthrough initiatives.
We care about the people we work with and support. We seek to build relationships in which our partners will be open with feedback and hold us accountable as much as we do them.
We believe in honesty, transparency, and living up to these values.