click image to view full sizeAbout Steve Kirsch and why I did the analysis

I founded the Internet search engine Infoseek. But I'm most proud of my role as a philanthropist in Silicon Valley. When the United Way in Silicon Valley faced an $11M shortfall, I was the first individual to step forward with a $1M donation to help out the 100 social service organizations that were left hanging. Iím a philanthropist because I care about people and I care about this country.  

I care about education. In the past few years, Iíve donated over $5M dollars through my charitable foundation to help educate our students [MIT1, MIT2, DeAnza]. It's an important investment in our future. 

As a CEO of four companies in Silicon Valley, I can tell you that our biggest problem is hiring exceptional people. It's the key to our future prosperity. And the key to that is education.

George W. Bush claims that he has improved education in Texas. Yet, from everything I know about Texas, that just didn't seem very credible. All the trusted third party achievement data I could find is consistent. It shows that from the time he was elected in 1994, scores have gone flat or in some cases, significantly declined. And the achievement gap has widened. Sure, miniorites in Texas score well on exams, but it's been like that for over a decade. It's deceptive to take credit for that as Bush has done on his web site

I read the RAND study when it came out on October 24. It made this all clear to me. Unfortunately, the Bush campaign was able to create doubt by citing an earlier RAND report and claiming a conflict. And they also brought up really phoney claims like "bad timing" and "missing data." That's bullshit. Now that really made me mad that they are fooling the American public.

I love mysteries! And this seemed pretty easy to figure out who was telling the truth. After all, all the external indicators like SAT scores, etc. say nothing is going on in Texas. I called RAND and they said both reports were right and told me to read the reports. So I did. And I discovered why there was no conflict. Now you know too. 

Here is a little bit more about me if you are wondering what my ulterior motives are in creating my political web site:

  • Ranked #96 in Worth magazine's annual list of the "100 Most Generous Americans"
  • Ranked #8 on the 1999 Slate 60: The 60 largest American charitable contributions of 1999
  • Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year by the Silicon Valley chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives
  • "Outstanding Leadership Award" for promoting the use of Zero Emission Vehicles from the American Lung Association of the Bay Area as part of the 2000 Annual Clean Air ENVY Awards
  • "Inspiration Award" at  Reaching for Stars 2000 Annual Awards Dinner (San Jose Chamber of Commerce and Tech Museum)
  • Named one of the "Top 10 Entrepreneurs of 2000" by Red Herring magazine
  • "Heart of Silicon Valley Award" from the City of Sunnyvale for my $1M lead gift to bail out the United Way. I was the first major donor to step forward and offer to help and I was one of only 3 individuals to give a gift of $1M or more.
  • Cover story in Silicon Valley Magazine (on ethics and philanthropy)
  • Visionary Award" from the Software Development Forum (where I urged my fellow CEOs to get more involved in helping the community)
  • I donated $2.5M to MIT for construction of an auditorium for education of engineering students [MIT1, MIT2]
  • I donated $2M to DeAnza College for construction of a the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies which we hope will serve as a national model to educate new generations on becoming environmentally aware citizens.
  • I donated $1M to Mills College for construction of a public policy/social science building
  • I'm an Aspen Institute Crown Fellow (The purpose of the Henry Crown Fellowship program is to promote community-spirited leadership in the next generation of business leaders. The program honors the career of Chicago industrialist Henry Crown, a strong proponent and practitioner of ethical values in business.)
  • My foundation's website, www.kirschfoundation.org, reflects our values and is one of the top philanthropic websites on the net (or so we've been told many times over). We donate over $5M per year to a variety of causes. You can also view our annual report which is really cool since it is only available online in PDF form (saving paper).
  • I worked extensively to author/pass two bills in the California Assembly  to provide consumer incentives for driving clean air vehicles and spoke (via Quicktime video) at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) hearing that reviewed the ZEV mandate. If you don't think I'm passionate about the environment by now, please check out the video.
  • A history of support for campaign finance reform. In fact, I was the guy who first told John McCain about Public Campaign and their remarkable accomplishments in the campaign finance reform area in the States. And journalist Bill Moyers and TV producer Norman Lear both know very well my history and passion in support of this important cause. Ours is one of only 9 foundations that support Public Campaign and we are the 3rd largest donor. It's a great organization with awesome traction. It's already working in Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona and it's on the ballot in Missouri and Oregon. And honest politicians love it because they don't have to spend anytime raising money. So isn't that sad that only 9 foundations want to level the playing field in American politics?
  • Numerous awards and honors
  • Donated $500K to the DNC

I have BS and MS engineering degrees from MIT. Iíve been the CEO of 4 successful high tech companies with a combined market capitalization of over $5B.  Iíve had the opportunity to observe and learn from some of the worldís leading CEOs, educators,  military leaders, and politicians, on a personal basis, including both presidential candidates. Iíve also hired hundreds of people in the 20 years since I started my first company, including a number of CEOs.

For more about me, see the Steve Kirsch Home Page (detailed version).

For more information about my charitable activities, please visit the Kirsch Foundation website.

If you are interested in attacking the RAND report, see the handy guide I've put together to help you attack the report and attack me. Please try to use a new technique that is not listed there as none of the listed techniques will work here. 

Steve Kirsch Political Home Page