Our History

Two Decades of Caring

Since 1995, Sand Hill Foundation has provided over $96 million in grants to organizations committed to strengthening our local community.

Our Founding

Sand Hill Foundation is a private family foundation established by the late Tom Ford and Susan Ford in 1995. The Foundation emerged from Tom’s lifelong passion for giving back to the community he loved. As a real estate developer, he was ahead of his time when, in the late 1960s, he built the environmentally-sensitive and now iconic properties along Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California.

“Happiness comes not from hard words like money and power, but from misty words like honor, love, loyalty, trust and faith.”
— Tom Ford’s guiding principle

Today, Susan Ford Dorsey carries on the Foundation’s work in Tom’s memory, directing philanthropy, serving on nonprofit boards, and adapting the organization’s focus in response to community needs throughout the San Francisco Peninsula.

Tom Ford, Co-founder of Sand Hill Foundation, 1921-1998
Tom Ford, Co-founder of Sand Hill Foundation, 1921-1998


Sand Hill Road and Giving Back

As one of Silicon Valley’s founding fathers, Tom Ford’s development of the corridor along Sand Hill Road in the late 1960s helped build the collaborative ethos that fueled the region’s early growth.

Sand Hill Road represents the collegial spirit of Silicon Valley’s history, bringing together businesses in venture capital, banking, and finance. But the deals that flowed due to the close proximity of business interests weren’t the only factor in shaping the Valley. Tom’s dedication to both community development and the preservation of natural space in and around Sand Hill Road would also have a lasting effect on making the Valley what it is today.

Tom initiated a practice of donating 25 percent of rent received from the Sand Hill Road office development to nonprofit organizations serving the broader community. He galvanized other business leaders and helped build a culture of giving in Silicon Valley, making Sand Hill Road a center for not only business innovation but also for philanthropy.

Sand Hill Road, circa 1904
Sand Hill Road, circa 1904
The Sand Hill Road development
The Sand Hill Road development, circa 2000