The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies seeks to stimulate the creation of economic opportunities through innovation, entrepreneurship, and the growth of businesses that change the lives of people who live in poverty around the world.
Inspiration for the Gift
The idea for the gift came out of home stays that founding donors Dorothy “Dottie” and Robert “Bob” King have offered to international students at Stanford for more than four decades. They witnessed first-hand the impact that education and entrepreneurship can have at both an individual level and a larger scale. One student, Xiangmin Cui, PhD ’97, introduced Bob to his friend Eric Xu, who joined internet engineer Robin Li to launch a Chinese-language search engine. Bob, an investment partner at Peninsula Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., provided seed funding. He and Dottie were on hand in 2005 when the company, Baidu, made its debut on NASDAQ. The internet giant now employs more than 10,000 people in China. Another King home stay student, Andreata Muforo, MBA ’09, from Zimbabwe, brought peers from her global study trip to Africa to the King home for dinner. “We heard how those first-hand experiences compelled some of the MBAs to return for internships in Africa,” said Dottie King. “We saw the direct connection between the learning experience and the motivation to make change.”
“We believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of growth to lift people out of poverty,” said Bob King, who with his wife also founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth. “And we believe Stanford’s tradition of innovation coupled with a forward-thinking global bias as well as its multidisciplinary resources will make a real impact.”
The Kings have made a $100 million gift to fund the Institute. They have committed an additional $50 million in matching funds to inspire other donors to fuel Stanford University’s commitment to alleviating poverty, bringing the total philanthropic investment to potentially $200 million.