Among the numerous tech philanthropists in the Bay Area of California are John and Ellen Drew, who made their fortune through success with the companies Lucent Technologies and TCV. However, this foundation maintains a low profile and does not have a website, which can make it challenging for first-time grantseekers to connect with the couple. So, here is an overview of the Drew Foundation and how it gives locally in Northern California.

Background on the Drew Couple

After obtaining degrees from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Columbia University, John Drew served as an army captain and worked at CF Software Corporation, Unisys Corporation, and International Network Services. He later went on to become the CEO of Lucent Technologies and a general partner of TCV, a company that invests in growth-stage technology companies. John Drew and his wife, Ellen, started the family foundation around 2000 to channel their philanthropic giving.

Issue Areas of Interest

Much of the Drew couple’s giving is centered on cancer research and treatment. They are on the leadership council of the Canary Foundation, an organization that focuses on early cancer detection. Aside from cancer, this is a disease-focused funder that supports other well-established health organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Likely connected to John Drew’s past military service, the Drews regularly support programs for veterans, including the Veterans Health Research Institution. Drew family interests are broad overall and also touch on education, youth, arts, public media and human services.

Recent Giving Trends

Since the Drew Foundation does not have a website, most of the publicly available information about this funder must be obtained from its annual tax filings. The foundation is based in Menlo Park, California; the couple lives in nearby Los Altos. So far, they have focused the bulk of their philanthropic attention on this region of the country. Annual foundation giving typically exceeds $2 million.

Here are some of the causes the Drews have been supporting lately:

  • YMCAs

  • Meals on Wheels

  • Homelessness

  • Cancer research

  • Alzheimer’s research

  • Alma mater higher education institutions

No Unsolicited Applications

Bay Area grantseekers should know that the Drew Foundation does not welcome unsolicited requests for funding. Ellen Drew serves as the foundation president, while John Drew is the secretary/treasurer. The foundation does not currently have professional staff or employees outside the family.

Learn more about this funder and other local givers in our Bay Area and NorCal regional guide.

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