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Background

The Peery Foundation is a Palo Alto-based family foundation established in 1978 by Richard Peery. Our mission is to strengthen youth and families to build lives of dignity and self-reliance. We do this by investing in and serving social entrepreneurs and other leaders who are working to empower youth and families in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. Hereʼs a bit about our founder, family background, and the values which inform our approach to philanthropy.

Service

Those who know our founder best, think of Dick Peery as a servant to those around him. Heʼs known for going the extra mile for someone who needs a helping hand, mostly in ways that donʼt involve money. Whenever he might have a free moment to himself, he immediately uses it to reach out to those in need, over the phone, email, or lunch at Kirkʼs. His service to others has been his defining characteristic, beyond any business accomplishments. This spirit of service influences our approach toward better supporting our grantees.

Entrepreneurship

Dick Peery is and always has been an entrepreneur. In middle school, he was the owner of every gum ball machine on the Stanford campus. In his teens, he launched a miniature golf-course. As an adult he became a pioneer of commercial real estate development in Silicon Valley. Together with partner John Arrillaga, they developed the office space which has served the growth and continuation of the tech industry. Our family’s entrepreneurial history runs deep, and encourages our support of social entrepreneurship.

ʻBeating the Pavementʼ

When Dickʼs father, Taylor Peery came to Palo Alto to attend Stanford in 1924, he took over and grew an orange juice company to support his studies. He would wake up at 4 am to deliver orange juice to stores on campus, in town, and to hospitals. After completing business school at Stanford, he built a career in banking and real estate. He was never one to be stuck behind his desk and spent many days driving through the gold country to visit with and learn from his clients. As Dick built his real estate company over the years, he also spent a good deal of time “beating the pavement”, personally scouting land on foot or motorcycle. We believe that hard work, with real people, away from a desk, can make extraordinary things happen in philanthropy.