What is the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge?

The Berkeley Founders’ Pledge is an opportunity for company founders, equity holders, or investors to make a nonbinding commitment to give back to Cal when they attain success. Alumni who make the Founders’ Pledge have full control over the timing, amount, and designation of their gift; support can be directed to any unit or program on campus, and does not need to be determined until the time the gift is made. Making the Pledge is an easy, rewarding way to join a cohort of successful Cal innovators who’ve publicly signaled their support of their alma mater from the earliest days of their business ventures.

How does it work?

Simply complete the pledge form on this site or contact us to request a hardcopy form. When the timing is right for you — typically, after your company’s IPO, acquisition or steady revenue growth — our team can help arrange your gift to the university. (Of course, annual gifts are also encouraged; every gift, no matter the size, helps Cal.) If desired, we can connect you to a gift planning expert who can help your financial and tax advisors determine which kind of gift — cash or stock — is best for you.

Why would I want to do this?

When you make a commitment to UC Berkeley as part of the Founders’ Pledge program, you join an exceptional community of alumni entrepreneurs and leaders who have a passion for Berkeley’s work, ideals, and mission. You have the satisfaction of making philanthropic goals an integral part of your business success. And you have access to the Founders’ Pledge network, a startup-savvy team of campus staff who can connect you to a broad spectrum of Berkeley’s resources.

Is there a minimum dollar amount for my contribution?

No; every gift to Cal is deeply appreciated and enhances our ability to offer a world-class education and conduct globally impactful research and scholarship. But while annual giving is encouraged among all alumni, fulfillment of your Founders’ Pledge commitment is intended to be a “stretch” gift, marking a notable milestone in your entrepreneurial journey. Your gift should be personally significant, guided by your unique situation and your goals for the impact you want to have at Berkeley.

Can I designate my pledge to any school, college, unit, or program on campus?

Yes, you may direct your gift to any area of campus. Our team can work with you to identify areas or topics that mean the most to you and help you explore your philanthropic goals over time. Berkeley Founders’ Pledge gifts can support existing initiatives and even help the university create entirely new programs.

What are the tax ramifications?

There are no tax ramifications associated with making the Pledge; tax considerations come into play when you make your gift, just as with any charitable contribution. All gifts to UC Berkeley are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

Who has made the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge?

Founders’ Pledge members are entrepreneurs and innovators who have started a company, or other early-stage employees or C-suite executives who hold equity in one. The Founders’ Pledge group is a special cohort of current and/or future donors — including several founders of “unicorn” startups — who appreciate the opportunity to be mindful and forward-thinking in their philanthropy toward UC Berkeley. See the “Who’s Done It?” page on this site to view the cohort.

What if I’ve already made a significant gift to Cal via a previous startup exit?

We would love to recognize you for the commitment you made to Berkeley and help you stay involved in Cal’s innovation and entrepreneurship community; retroactive memberships are welcome! Please contact us to connect.

How do I get more information?

Don’t hesitate to email us at . We are happy to answer any additional questions you might have about the Berkeley Founders’ Pledge and/or how it might work with your unique, personal situation.