Toward a fuller circle: What can happen when citizens band together.

Over the last few weeks we’ve seen some progress in California on issues like climate change, equal pay, and early childhood education, but also setbacks. And at the national level, we find a government strained to take on issues like affordable education, economic opportunity, environmental protection and clean energy.

To truly move the needle, we need to seek out creative solutions engineered not by government or our leaders alone, but developed within and by the communities in which we live, work, and raise our families.

To this end, four hundred of our neighbors gathered last night at San Francisco’s City Hall to celebrate the progress one group has made over the past fifteen years.

Full Circle Fund was launched in 2000 to leverage the talent and resources of Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurs to create social change, inspire the broader community and create a generation who would work across sectors to improve our community. With the investment and commitment of our members, who give their own time and money, and supporters including Reid Hoffman, Sheryl Sandberg, Marc Benioff, Larry Baer, Vivian Wu and Mark Jacobstein, we’ve given over 100 grants, 90,000 volunteer hours, started schools, and improved lives.

We’ve invested in La Cocina’s immigrant women entrepreneurs, helped Black Girls Code and Mission Techies train more low income students to code, worked with Beyond12 to increase college graduation rates for low income students, and helped start the iZone to bring innovative education ideas to San Mateo County’s public schools. The model works because we give these orgs both time and money.

Most importantly, we’ve done it together.

We need more bold ventures to pioneer a new economy that works better for everyone. We’ve spent the last fifteen years investing in social entrepreneurs who share the same vision.

Last night, we planted seeds for what is possible in the next fifteen years. By partnering with like-minded neighbors, we can accelerate the success of more social ventures finding creative approaches to meet community needs.

School foundations in the Bay Area have shown what can happen when neighbors band together — raising millions of dollars for their local schools.

When citizens work together — by pooling their time, talent and money — we can make a difference in our local communities. Lasting impact is possible. We inspire each other to do more for the greater good. Let’s be the shining example and lead the way by doing more.