It’s March of 1998, and the Manufacturing Group Board of Directors approves our business plan to create our “Housing Trust Fund.” In collaboration with the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Community Foundation, an ambitious effort is launched to raise $20 million in voluntary contributions in just 24 months.
Little did we know that within a year, the steepest and deepest economic downturn to date would strike Silicon Valley.
Nevertheless, by August 1 of the year 2000, the audacious goal is achieved – and exceeded – with $20.6 million donated. Two of every three dollars is donated by private employers, employer foundations and private citizens. The County, and all 15 cities and towns, contribute the other one-third. Recognizing the spectrum of need for affordable homes in our high-cost region, the funding formula is divided into thirds – with one-third for those who are homeless, one-third for those who need affordable rental homes, and one-third for first-time homebuyers. The initial goal: Raise $20 million to leverage $200 million, to initially assist 4,800 families.
The Foundation for the Fund is successfully laid, when five innovative employers each make the first contributions of $200,000 each: Applied Materials, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, KB Home, Solectron. Four of the five would later donate $1 million each or more. The funds were matched to kick-off the 2-year fundraising drive by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, under the leadership of Board Chair Pete McHugh.
Update: In its first 17 years, the Silicon Valley Housing Trust has now raised more than $110 million in voluntary contributions, leveraging more than $2.5 billion in private development and helping more than 25,000 individuals and families.
Additional Update . . . “A Rose by any other name is still a Rose.” That same year, 1998, the Santa Clara Valley Manufacturing Group once again changes its name, to the “Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group.”