After the thriving online survey company goes public, the Facebook COO and influential author will give away her 9.9% stake in the company to the Sheryl Sandberg and David Goldberg Family Foundation.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on August 31, 2018

“Ms. Sandberg plans to donate all shares beneficially owned by her (or the proceeds from the sale thereof) to the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation as part of fulfilling their philanthropic commitment to the Giving Pledge,” SurveyMonkey said in its IPO filing on Wednesday.

The foundation was previously known as Lean In but has since been renamed to honour Dave Goldberg, the late husband of Sandberg. He had been CEO of SurveyMonkey from 2010 to 2015. Under his leadership, the company went from a 12-person operation to being the pre-eminent online survey provider, employing some 550 people and valued at US$2 billion.

Sandberg’s charity carries on the name of her late husband

The foundation’s main projects are Sandberg’s ‘lean in’ initiative to empower women and OptionB.org which provides a range of programs encouraging resilience for survivors of sexual abuse and those grieving the loss of loved ones.

Goldberg, a hugely popular figure in Silicon Valley, passed away suddenly when the pair were on holiday in Mexico in 2015. Sandberg has been serving on the board of SurveyMonkey since shortly after his death.

In the filing, current SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie paid tribute to Goldberg’s influence on the company.

“Anyone who knew Dave will understand how devastating it was for the company—for all of Silicon Valley, actually—to lose such a visionary,” he wrote.

“Organizations that suffer that sort of shock can either unravel or rally. We rallied. I believe the company is more empathetic, more resilient and more determined because of Dave’s life and death.”

The Giving Pledge

Back in 2014, Sandberg committed to The Giving Pledge, which was created in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage US billionaires to give away most of their wealth to charity.

184 of the world’s wealthiest individuals have since joined the pledge.

This is not the first time Sandberg has made a massive charitable donation; in 2016 she transferred around US$100 million on her Facebook stock to a number of charities. The previous year, she gave US$31 million worth of stock to Lean In and other womens’ empowerment organisations.

Forbes’ real-time Billionaires Index currently has Sandberg in 1411th place in the world wealth rankings with around US$1.7 billion, mainly from Facebook stock, to her name.