USC Trustee David C. Bohnett ’78 has made his life’s work a quest to connect people and build stronger communities, using his business and computer engineering skills to empower his philanthropy. He hopes to inspire the next generation to make the world a better place through social justice, entrepreneurship and public policy.
The David C. Bohnett Residential College, a home base for students interested in community service and advocacy, will be one of eight residential colleges in USC Village—USC’s massive residential-retail complex scheduled to open in 2017.
Besides supporting the residential college, a $15 million naming gift from Bohnett sets up a leadership fund at the USC Price School of Public Policy to support a fellowship in public policy with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It also endows a faculty chair in social entrepreneurship at the USC Marshall School of Business.
“By empowering society through the next generation of leaders, and enriching civic spirit through understanding, Mr. Bohnett is a true champion of social justice,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias says.
Bohnett, a resident of New York and Los Angeles, is a philanthropist, arts patron and technology entrepreneur. In 1994, he founded the media and e-commerce company GeoCities.com, which paved the way for the rise of social networks. In 1998, Yahoo! Inc. acquired the company and he established the David Bohnett Foundation and Baroda Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage technology startups.
“I can trace back so many of my personal and professional accomplishments to my four years as an undergraduate at USC, where I learned how to excel academically and how to give back through service to others,” Bohnett says.
The David Bohnett Foundation offers grants that fund technology and technical support, and contributes to hundreds of nonprofits in arts, education, civic programs, LGBT-related causes and graduate school leadership programs; voting rights and registration initiatives; research and public policy initiatives to reduce the toll of firearm violence; and animal welfare and rights programs.