Craig Newmark on Making a Difference


Twitter = @CraigNewmark

Craig Newmark is the founder of, the almost completely free online classified advertising site that has seen more than 5 billion ads posted. He no longer has an active role in the management of the company, although he maintains a "lightweight" role as a customer service representative, and of course the company continues to bear his name. 

Nowadays, Craig's primary focus is on his charitable work and many hobbies. In 2011 he launched as an outward extension of his ongoing philanthropy. The mission of Craigconnects in the short term is to promote and enhance the use of technology and social media to benefit philanthropy and the public service. He uses the Craigconnects platform to support effective organizations working for veterans and military families, open government, public diplomacy, journalistic ethics and accountability, consumer protection, election protection, and voter registration. 

Craig speaks to the Philanthropy Hour on the importance of giving back, and why you don't have to make a killing to make a difference. Craig has always lived his life by the motto of "sending the elevator back down," and the best way to do well is by doing good. While he continued to run Craigslist, he was offered many opportunities to capitalize on it or monetize it, but Craig always believed in keeping the platform as an open and democratic tool for the people. Now, Craig continues to live those values through his philanthropy, and his giving is an extension of his own convictions and life philosophy. 


In this interview, we discuss:

  1. The importance of the golden rule. (4:30)
  2. Why he has made an investment in election protection during this election year. (6:00)
  3. How he approaches his philanthropic strategy, and how he chooses the organizations to support. (12:25)
  4. The old model of industrial philanthropy is giving way to a nimbler, more responsive form of giving. (20:15)
  5. Everyone can make a difference by doing something that matters to them.  (23:00)


"You don't have to make a killing to make a difference..."  -Craig Newmark


  1. More info on CraigConnects
  2. Article on Craig in San Francisco Gate
  3. Profile on Craig in Inside Philanthropy
  4. Craig's contribution in The Future of Philanthropy
  5. Article on his recent donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.   
  6. Book Recommendation: Infomocracy by Malka Ann Older. 


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