By Kathleen J. Sullivan
Jeffrey S. Raikes, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, former chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a former member of Microsoft Corp.’s senior leadership team, has been elected chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees.
Raikes, a Stanford alumnus who joined the Board of Trustees in 2012, served on the presidential search committee that selected Marc Tessier-Lavigne as Stanford’s 11th president last year. Raikes will take office on July 1.
Raikes succeeds Steven A. Denning, who has served as chair since July 2012. Denning, who joined the Board of Trustees in April 2004, will leave the board at the end of June.
Denning said Raikes’ experience in business, technology and philanthropy will be invaluable to trustees and to Tessier-Lavigne, who called on the Stanford community to help develop a bold vision for the future during his inaugural address in October.
“Jeff’s senior leadership positions at Microsoft and the Gates Foundation provide an ideal backdrop for him to be chair, to work with the board and the president to delineate Stanford plans for the future, and to ensure the university’s ability to deepen and expand its impact across the United States and around the world,” Denning said.
The Stanford University Board of Trustees is the custodian of the university’s endowment – which was $22.4 billion at the end of the 2016 fiscal year – and its properties. Trustees administer invested funds, set the annual budget, and determine policies for the operation and control of the university. Currently, the Board of Trustees has 35 members.
Raikes, who is the chair of the board’s Land & Buildings Committee, has served on several other trustee committees, including Globalization, Investment Responsibility, Finance, and Audit, Compliance & Risk.
In addition to serving as a trustee, Raikes has a long record of supporting university programs.
He served on the Strategic Council of the School of Engineering and on the Seattle Major Gifts Committee of The Stanford Challenge, which raised $6.2 billion to seek solutions to complex global problems and educate the next generation of leaders.
Raikes and his wife, Tricia, established a fund that helps support community-engaged learning opportunities for students, fellowships and research programs at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford.
They also helped establish the Mindset Scholars Network, whose mission is to advance the scientific understanding of learning mindsets to improve academic success and expand educational opportunity. The network is housed at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.
Raikes has supported many other areas of the university as well, including Cardinal Service, a Stanford-wide initiative to promote service and community-engaged learning, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, the Graduate School of Education, the Center on Food Security and the Environment, and the Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) Mindset Challenge.
Raikes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering-economic systems at Stanford in 1980, co-chaired his 2015 35th reunion.
He was a regional chair for Leading Matters, a three-year inspirational program presented by Stanford in cities around the world from 2008 to 2011. He was also a regional chair for Think Again, a 12-city tour that was part of the Campaign for Undergraduate Education, a 2000-2006 fundraising drive that raised $1.1 billion for new and existing programs.
Raikes joined with Tricia to establish the Jeff and Tricia Raikes Undergraduate Scholarship Fund to help enable students admitted to Stanford from rural and inner-city schools to have an opportunity to attend the university.
In 2002, the couple founded the Raikes Foundation, which works toward a just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to reach their full potential. Grants are made in three core program areas: education, youth homelessness and expanded learning opportunities. The foundation recently introduced a new initiative aimed at helping philanthropists ensure their giving has maximum impact. Based in Seattle, the foundation has distributed $80 million in grants since it was established.
From 2008 to 2014, Raikes was the chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was responsible for setting strategic priorities, monitoring results, and facilitating relationships with key partners for all three of the foundation’s program groups: global development, global health, and the U.S. program, which focuses on education.
Before joining the Gates Foundation, Raikes was a member of the senior leadership team at Microsoft Corp. that set overall strategy and direction.
He originally joined Microsoft in 1981 as a product manager and held several positions throughout his tenure, including president of the Microsoft Business Division, vice president of the Worldwide Sales and Support Group, and senior vice president of Microsoft North America. Before joining Microsoft, he was a software development manager at Apple Computer.
Raikes, a native of Nebraska, was part of the initial conceptualization of the J. D. Edwards Honors Program in Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2008, the university renamed it the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. Currently, he is a member of the school’s advisory board.
Raikes is also an owner and member of the board of the Seattle Mariners, a major league baseball team, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Costco Wholesale Corp., and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska.
The Raikes have three children, all of whom have earned Stanford degrees.