About the Foundation

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.

About the Founders

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.

By the Numbers

$ 0 M+
awarded in 2022 thus far
$ 0 M+
awarded since 2007

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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Our Values

Humility

We recognize that we don’t have all the answers, and we seek to be open-minded and responsive as we continually learn.

Courage

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.

Justice

We believe all people should be treated fairly, with dignity and respect.

Opportunity

We believe all people deserve the chance to live up to their full potential.

Sustainability

We commit to long-term progress and solutions.

Innovation

We believe in creativity and novel approaches driven by curiosity, research, and strategic collaborations. We are willing to take risks on potentially breakthrough initiatives.

Relationships

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.

Integrity

We believe in honesty, transparency, and living up to these values.