Meg Whitman to fund Peninsula charter schools

Former gubernatorial candidate, eBay CEO, backs Silicon Valley 'college readiness' initiative

Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO and the 2010 Republican nominee for California governor, will help fund 10 new charter high schools on the Peninsula, a charter school organization announced Tuesday.

Summit Public Schools, which currently runs Summit Prep in Redwood City, said Whitman's family foundation will donate $2.5 million over five years to its "Silicon Valley College Ready Corridor" initiative.

The initiative aims to launch 10 new charter high schools in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties by 2021. Summit currently operates three high schools in addition to the eight-year-old Summit: the two-year-old Everest Public High School in Redwood City and two campuses -- Ranier and Tahoma -- opening this fall in San Jose.

Whitman, an Atherton resident who led eBay for a decade and lost last November's governor's race to Democrat Jerry Brown, sits on the board of Summit.

"Summit Public Schools have created a cutting-edge instructional model that will challenge, support and graduate young men and women with the skills and drive to become productive adults, community leaders and industry pioneers," Whitman said in a prepared statement.

"That's the Silicon Valley spirit and the key to its future."

Whitman was scheduled to appear at a celebratory event Tuesday at Summit's new campuses in San Jose.

Currently, one in every five Silicon Valley high school students does not graduate, and fewer than half graduate with the preparation needed to attend a four-year college, Summit founder and CEO Diane Tavenner said.

"Silicon Valley is the world's innovation capital, yet its own students aren't graduating ready to succeed at a four-year college," Tavenner said.

Summit's "college readiness corridor" is aimed at tackling that problem, and eventually will provide a high-quality high school education to 6,000 local students, she said.

Beyond their $2.5 million gift, Whitman and her husband, Stanford University neurosurgeon Griffith Harsh, offered another $2.5 million matching grant that will double the contributions of others donating to the college-readiness project.

In addition to Summit, Whitman recently joined the national board of Teach for America. She also sits on the boards of HP, Procter & Gamble and Zipcar.

Summit's Redwood City campus was one of the schools featured in the 2010 documentary "Waiting for Superman." The movie follows the story of Emily Jones, who was one of 445 applicants for 110 spots in a lottery for admission to Summit.

Jones told the filmmakers she felt fortunate when she won the lottery and was able to attend Summit rather than her assigned school, Woodside High.

Chris Kenrick

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Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2011 at 8:41 am

Seems like she's got a new job with HP too!

Like this comment
Posted by Keltic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

Queen Meg attempts to rehabilitate her image.

She's running again.

Like this comment
Posted by a
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

Great! I'm glad. Thank you Meg Whitman.

Like this comment
Posted by stupid
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

Leo has years of very successful leadership as a software and service guy. HP hired him because they wanted to get out of the hardware business and become a software and service company. Leo has been delivering exactly that by canning the Palm and PC product lines. Now HP is going to dump Leo for Meg? What could she possibly do that Leo is not already doing? Turn HP into a web-only company?

Like this comment
Posted by H S Parent
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

Its great to see Whitman invest in the real wealth of Silicon Valley - our kids. Summit and Everest are great schools and the real shame is that these schools are not available to more kids.

Stoopid, HP is not dumping Apotheker for Whitman, she's just on the board of directors.

Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:55 am

"...HP is not dumping Apotheker for Whitman, she's just on the board of directors."

At present, the Wall Street Journal is reporting the following:

"The board of Hewlett-Packard Co. is considering ousting Leo Apotheker as chief executive, according to people briefed on the matter.

"The board is planning to meet Wednesday, according to one of those people. No decisions have been made on a successor to Mr. Apotheker, said this person.

"H-P declined to comment."

Like this comment
Posted by Keltic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

Maybe she can direct them to buy Skype. She's an expert at that.

"By early 2008, the tumultuous ownership relations between the Founders and eBay had resulted in significant leadership churn, with a succession of Skype presidents including Niklas Zennström, Rajiv Dutta, Alex Kazim, Niklas Zennström (again), and Henry Gomez, all holding that title at various points between 2005 and 2007. The business had failed to meet certain earn-out targets, growth was decelerating, product development had slowed significantly, and in October 2007 eBay took a $1.4 billion 'impairment' on the value of Skype, admitting it had overpaid, and now valuing the company at about $2.7 billion"

"During Whitman's tenure as CEO, eBay completed the purchase of Skype for $4.1B in cash and stock in September 2005. In 2009, Skype was sold by eBay at a valuation of $2.75B."

Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 21, 2011 at 10:58 am

"Helping to fund" and "funding" are two different things entirely. Who wrote up this article header, and what is your connection to Whitman?
And family foundations are primarily tax avoidance vehicles set up to protect wealth indefinitely, for the family, not the community. Unlike trust funds, which legally have to end after two generations, foundations can continue forever.
Sure, it's great that the foundation is doing good for the community, but that is not why it exists. It also sounds pretty good politically. A nice bit of marketing and political spin, I'd say, that will have a nice ring to it when Meg Whitman runs for office again.

Like this comment
Posted by stupid
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:00 am

CNN says "HP board may oust Apotheker for Whitman"
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by DD Mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:39 am

She is good. I voted for her last year, too bad she did not win.

Like this comment
Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

Poor HP. First they buy Autonomy and now may get Whitman.

Think of all the good jobs she can outsource like she did at Ebay.

Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Really, one in five Silicon Valley students does not graduate? Can anyone out there verify this? It seems shockingly high for this area.

Also, I do not understand Steve C.'s objection to the family foundation. Gifts to a foundation are irrevocable, so how could someone continue to benefit from those assets as he has implied (aside from the personal gratification of making charitable gifts to improve the world)?

Like this comment
Posted by Keltic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm

"so how could someone continue to benefit from those assets"

look at the foundation's tax documents and it will tell you if they have benefited

Like this comment
Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

From the Santa Clara County Office of Education:

"Overall, the graduation rate for the county is 78.3 percent. This compares with a statewide figure of 74.4 percent."

For details, see: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Clark
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 21, 2011 at 1:17 pm

At least she's doing something to help local schools. What are the rest of you doing?

Like this comment
Posted by Keltic
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Volunteering. Donating.

And you?

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I didn't vote for her, but I thank her heartily for her contribution to education.

Like this comment
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm

As a woman who worked for Paypal after they were bought by eBay, Meg's first appearance at the office that we were all excited about was in fact a scolding about sexual harassment - if there is something that you can't say in front of your mom, don't say it. Needless to say I felt like a schoolchild. I really hope she is supporting her community and not using this to support a new run for public office.

Like this comment
Posted by Edgarpoet
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

Edgarpoet is a registered user.

Meg Whitman only gives money if she gets something she wants in return for the donating, NOT because shes a good caring person,
if fact that fact has already been played out, remember the house maid episode?

Like this comment
Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

Everyone at HP should be furiously working on their resumes and networking like crazy. The quickest way for a new Exec to improve the bottom line is to dump workers, especially the people who have been around the longest and by virtue of that alone have higher compensation. If Whitman is appointed, given the condition of HP based upon it's stock price, there will be a bloodbath. And the board members will love it, because it will make them look good to the stockholders, and of course, Whitman will build her bonus compensation around the stock price.
Any bets this doesn't happen?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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