The Foundation

The Parker Foundation aggressively pursues solutions to an array of entrenched problems impacting millions of people, building on the momentum that Sean Parker achieved in a decade of independent philanthropy. We believe philanthropy with a capacity for experimentation is the most effective. We target our resources toward the best people doing the most promising work and then we provide unrestrained support. We believe that’s how problems get solved.

With these approaches in mind, the Parker Foundation was launched in June 2015 through a $600 million gift by Sean and Alexandra Parker. The foundation builds upon the Parkers’ historical philanthropic support and capitalizes on their pioneering work in the fields of technology, media, company building, and public policy. Based in San Francisco, the foundation aggressively pursues large-scale systemic change in four focus areas: Life Sciences, Global Public Health, Civic Engagement and the Arts.

About Sean Parker

Sean Parker is a philanthropist and entrepreneur with a record of launching genre-defining companies and organizations. He is the founder and President of the Parker Foundation, which focuses on four areas: Life Sciences, Global Public Health, Civic Engagement, and the Arts.

In April 2016, the Parker Foundation announced a $250 million grant to form the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, building on Mr. Parker’s leadership in funding and promoting research into the relationship between the immune system and cancer. In the ensuing years, the Parker Institute has evolved into a leader in the immunotherapy field for cutting edge research collaboration and clinical development, including funding a landmark human trial using CRISPR technology.

In addition to cancer research, Mr. Parker has led many initiatives that revolutionized the civic and social landscape. He was the co-founder of Napster at age 19 and of Plaxo at 21. In 2004 he partnered with Mark Zuckerberg to found Facebook and served as its first president. In 2007 he co-founded Causes on Facebook, which registered 180 million people to donate money and take action around social issues. During his tenure as Managing Partner at Founders Fund, Mr. Parker became Spotify’s first American investor. Mr. Parker is also chairman and founder of the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), based in Washington D.C. He was a key architect behind EIG’s groundbreaking Opportunity Zones program, a community investment tool that connects private capital with low-income communities across America.

For his work establishing the Stand Up 2 Cancer and Cancer Research Institute's (CRI) Immunology Dream Team in 2012, Mr. Parker was honored by CRI with the Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research in 2013. In 2016 he received the Pontifical Key Philanthropy Award from the Vatican, the Jefferson Foundation Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen, and the Friends of Cancer Research Cancer Leadership Award. In 2017, he received UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital’s highest honor, the Kaleidoscope Philanthropic Leadership Award, as well as the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Public Service Award for his efforts in championing cancer immunotherapy. In August 2018, he was nominated as a Wired Magazine “Icon" alongside Alex Marson for their roles in the research of DNA programming and genome editing in the fight against cancer.

In 2018, he received the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage from Trinity College, Dublin, and received the Kemp Leadership Award for his leadership on Opportunity Zones.

Throughout the years, Mr. Parker has been voted onto various influential lists, including Time Magazine's 50 Most Influential People in Health Care, Vanity Fair’s New Establishment, Politico's Politico 50, Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Philanthropy 50, Billboard’s Power 100, and Forbes' 100 Greatest Business Minds, among others.

In addition to serving as chairman of the board at the Economic Innovation Group and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Mr. Parker is on the Obama Foundation's Board of Directors, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Board of Trustees and Global Citizen’s Board of Directors.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Alexandra and their two children.

About Alexandra Parker

As a founding board member of The Parker Foundation, Alexandra Parker is an active philanthropist in the field of life sciences and public health and was instrumental to the formation of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. In 2017, Alexandra was recognized alongside Sean Parker with the Kaleidoscope Philanthropic Leadership Award from UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital for the Parker Foundation’s work to support groundbreaking collaborative scientific research into cancer and the immune system. 

Alexandra also has a deep passion for helping those struggling with opiate addiction and is working to support the recovery process. Beyond Alexandra’s philanthropic work, she is an artist, musician and dedicated mother to two children.

Our Grantmaking Areas

Life Sciences

Global Public Health

Civic Engagement

Location