Welcome back to The Sunstone Way.
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving – family, turkey, parades, and football are hard to beat.
Now we are into giving season. Did you take advantage of Giving Tuesday this week?
Giving is fundamental to the Sunstone philosophy. If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you’ve heard me talk about the Sunstone Community Fund more than once. It feels like the week after Thanksgiving is a good time to go into more depth about the fund, what it does, and how you can become a part of its good work.
How It Started
As I said last week, our founder John Shen believes in giving back to the community. He also is passionate about helping young entrepreneurs get started in the startup environment.
To turn that belief into reality, he and his wife, Stella Zhang, made a very generous donation to launch the Sunstone Community Fund. SCF went public in the middle of 2022 as a charitable donor-advised fund, managed by the National Philanthropic Trust.
The goal of the Sunstone Community Fund is to support our network of universities and nonprofit public-private partners, working to foster young entrepreneurs – particularly under-represented entrepreneurs – in their quest to make a difference in the world. Creating economic opportunities creates economic development, thus enriching both people and communities.
The Community Fund is a charitable, donor-advised fund, not an investment fund. Donations to SCF are used to make grants to charitable organizations for the purpose of the plan.
Making An Impact
Our Sunstone Community Fund is young – not even two years old yet. But its impact is already being felt in a big way. Here’s just one example.
In 2022, we partnered with the California State University system to start the CSU Startup Launch Competition. That spring, teams from six CSU campuses came to Cal State Long Beach to compete in a pitch competition.
Later that year, the Community Fund was formed and stepped up to sponsor the launch competition. Sunstone pledged $1 million — $200,000 in prize money for each of the next five years.
The impact? The 2023 Sunstone CSU Startup Launch Competition attracted teams from 18 CSU campuses! The prize money has sustained many of the concepts pitched there and advanced some to a point where a viable business is on the horizon.
Here’s what Angel Idusuyi, a San Jose State University student and CEO of CreditCliq, had to say.
“When we won the CSU Startup, we had zero users,” Angel said. “We were just three students with an idea… Now people (in Nigeria) are allowed to see their credit score, and build their credit history.”
I am thrilled with the progress made at the Community Fund over the last year. Under the direction of our Economic Development Department and Jayro Sandoval, it has been able to sponsor multiple community and educational events in Long Beach, Irvine and beyond. It’s even established a presence at my alma mater, the University of Southern California, promoting partnerships between students and municipal governments.
An emphasis has been on the creation of a donation portal to expand the base of partners supporting this good work. Our Sunstone family of employees has taken advantage of the opportunity to help young entrepreneurs succeed in yet another way. These are folks working every day to improve the entrepreneurial environment, so they know how important this charitable effort is.
Now I’d like to invite you to join me in supporting the Sunstone Community Fund. I could talk about the tax advantages of donating as the year comes to a close (because it is true), but I want to emphasize the chance to give a hand up to the next generation of entrepreneurs who are going to shape our future.
It’s easy to become a partner in this endeavor. Just click here to become part of the Sunstone Community Fund team. After all, that’s The Sunstone Way.
And as always, be a Sunstone!
CEO & Managing Partner
Sunstone Management, Inc.
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Note: Sunstone Community Fund is a donor advised charitable fund (“DAF”) sponsored by Sunstone Management, Inc. Neither Sunstone Management, nor any of its affiliates, manage the assets of the Fund or receive a fee for being a sponsor. National Philanthropic Trust serves as the manager of the DAF and charges a 3% processing fee for your donation and receives administrative fees for its services which are paid from Fund assets. Donors are advised to consult with their financial and tax advisors to understand how DAF contributions may impact their financial and tax circumstances. Sunstone and its employees are prohibited from making investment recommendations for your donations.
More About Sunstone Management
Sunstone Management is a diversified private capital sponsor firm headquartered in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology entrepreneurs who seek to build great companies. We believe in the aspirational power of the American economy to attract and inspire investors and entrepreneurs from throughout the world. We deliver new and exciting opportunities for economic growth through the creation of innovative public-private partnerships, and our unique experience across government, education, and private sectors. Identified by Financial Times as one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row. In the second quarter of 2023, PitchBook ranked Sunstone the seventh most active early-stage venture capital firm in the country, and 18th overall.
© Sunstone Management Inc., 2023