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Monday, Aug 15, 2022
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Chip Charity

The county’s newest corporate foundation is looking to pick up where the famous founders of its namesake company left off.

Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp.’s foundation has some $50 million to put toward education causes with a focus on promoting science, technology, engineering and math for students and teachers.

The chipmaker, which last year started the Broadcom Foundation and hired a director to run it, officially unveils the charitable arm this month after filing necessary government paperwork.

The foundation’s focus echoes the beloved causes of Broadcom cofounders Henry Samueli and Henry Nicholas, who are some of the biggest names in philanthropy here.

“Broadcom’s founders both have private foundations that are enormously influential throughout Orange County,” said Paula Golden, executive director of the Broadcom Foundation and director of community affairs for the chipmaker. “For a time, that was how Broadcom perceived its philanthropy—through its founders.”

Samueli, Broadcom’s technology chief, has given some $30 million to the University of California, Los Angeles, and almost the same amount to the University of California, Irvine.

Both universities named their engineering schools after him.

Together with his wife, Susan, Samueli has given about $250 million to healthcare, education, the arts and Jewish causes.

Former chief executive Nicholas gives to the arts, victim’s rights and academic centers that aim to help steer kids into college, among other causes.

Sign of Change

The foundation caps several years of big changes at a maturing Broadcom.

The chipmaker landed on the Fortune 500 list last year and since has been putting in place the hallmarks of big company culture and corporate polish.

Under Chief Executive Scott McGregor, who came to Broadcom in 2005, the company has installed veteran executives, made accounting procedures more transparent and began paying out quarterly dividends to investors.

The moves distance Broadcom from its unruly early days and a stock options backdating ordeal that brought 2007’s restatement of several years of financial results to reflect $2.2 billion in charges.

The options drama also brought criminal charges against Samueli and Nicholas. The cases were thrown out by a judge in December with the federal government now weighing an appeal.

The foundation is part of a new, mature Broadcom, according to Golden.

“The corporation is now really global and a Fortune 500 company,” she said. “It is well aware that it has a leadership role in the communities where its employees live and work.”

The foundation formalizes education giving Broadcom’s done. The company already gives to more than a dozen schools, including University of California schools as well as the universities of Toronto, Minnesota, Texas A&M and Chapman.

Broadcom also gives to foundations, nonprofits and other groups.

Some local recipients include the Irvine Police Association, Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Broadcom’s big focus for the foundation is on kindergarten through 12th grade education in public schools.

“Because Broadcom’s corporate investment in education had been primarily at the graduate and post-graduate level, they wanted to move into community-related education,” Golden said.

The foundation hopes to help women and minorities be engaged in science and math learning, she said.

“We are focusing on constituencies we believe are underrepresented in the sciences, engineering and math as they move toward college,” Golden said. “We look at how we can impact those special constituencies that we want to see more of in the future in these fields.”

That’s a fit for Broadcom, which is quick to tout its highly educated employees.

“When you have over 600 Ph.D.s on your Irvine campus, you have enormous human capital to help solve what we see to be a systemic problem in educating the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators,” Golden said.

Of course, promoting education stands to benefit Broadcom.

“Broadcom really prides itself on hiring extraordinary people,” Golden said. “It feels very strongly about education. Marrying those two critical components in our philanthropy felt right from a corporate perspective.”

The foundation expects to give at least $2.5 million per year. The rest of the money set aside by Broadcom is being invested to fund the foundation later.

“Because we have cash on hand, we can take some very dramatic steps into certain projects in really trying to make a difference,” Golden said.

By the end of this year, the foundation expects to have given away about $720,000.

It has made two grants so far.

Its first donation was to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, where Broadcom’s roughly $8,000 helped save an annual science fair that was set to be scrapped due to budget cuts.

The second was to Hoag Hospital Foundation, which raises money for Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

Broadcom provided money to help educate nursing students from area colleges who perform their clinical rotations at Hoag.

Golden said she’s in talks with other groups.

A big focus is after-school programs that promote math, science and technology.

“This is a huge component in today’s world where you have working families and single-parent families, Golden said.

Broadcom isn’t looking to spend money “kid by kid,” she said. The foundation is looking to work with other donors to “leverage what we put in to make a larger impact,” Golden said.

Since Golden came on board last year, she has been honing the foundation’s mission and public front.

She reports to Broadcom’s vice president of human resources, Terri Timberman, and McGregor, who’s president of the foundation.

Samueli has a seat on the foundation’s board along with Timberman, McGregor, Chief Financial Officer Eric Brandt and General Counsel Arthur Chong.

Golden has helped steer the development of the foundation’s Web site and created an online questionnaire that helps applicants looking for grants figure out if they meet its criteria.

“We had to come up with a strategy for filtering this in a way that doesn’t bring nonprofits to the wrong expectations,” she said. “The most important thing Broadcom can do is not to get expectations too high if it’s not an appropriate match for its mission.”

Proposals

The foundation accepts proposals in the spring and then announces recipients in the fall. It’s looking at proposals through the end of June. All applications are done online.

Golden has been on the other side of the equation—she’s done major fundraising for Santa Monica’s St. Johns Health Center Foundation, UCLA’s Development for Neuroscience and the Engineering Center in Boston.

She’s also a lawyer who’s served as a teacher and an assistant dean at Boston’s New England School of Law.

“The thing that distinguishes this job for me is that I’m giving away the money, not raising it,” she said. “It gives me a really deep appreciation for the people who are asking for money. I’ve been on the other end.”

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