Craig Newmark

Craig Alexander Newmark (born December 6, 1952) is an American Internet entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for being the founder of the website Craigslist.

Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark in 2011
Craig Alexander Newmark

(1952-12-06) December 6, 1952
ResidenceSan Francisco, California
Alma materCase Western Reserve University
OccupationComputer programmer
Known forFounder of the website Craigslist
Spouse(s)Eileen Whelpley (m. 2012)

Early life

Newmark was born in Morristown, New Jersey, the son of Joyce and Lee Newmark.[1] Growing up, he attended a Jewish religious school. His father, an insurance salesman, died when Craig was thirteen and his mother struggled financially,[2] moving Craig and his brother Jeff into an apartment in Jacob Ford Village.[1] In 1971, he graduated from Morristown High School[1] and thanks to scholarships,[2] attended college at Case Western Reserve University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1975 and a master of science degree in 1977.[3]


After college, Newmark worked at IBM for 17 years as a programmer, living in New Jersey, Boca Raton, Florida and Detroit. In 1993, he moved to San Francisco to work for Charles Schwab, where he was introduced to the Internet—which at that time was still relatively free of commercials.[1] A self-professed nerd,[4] he developed Craigslist as a free marketplace where people could come together – without charge – and exchange information. It has been described as an "internet commune."[1]

Newmark remains active at Craigslist in customer service, dealing mostly with spammers and scammers.[5] He also operates Craigconnects,[6] a site that publicizes charitable organizations.[7]


In 2006, he donated $20,000 to a non-profit group, NewAssignment.Net, an attempt to combine the work of amateurs and professionals to produce investigative stories on the Internet.[8]

In 2011, he introduced craigconnects to support non-profits and other organizations "that get things done on a sustainable basis." He declared it "the biggest thing in my life."[9]

In January 2017, TechCrunch reported that Newmark donated $500,000 to Wikipedia's attempt at "reducing harassment and vandalism on the site and improve the tools moderators use every day to keep the peace."[10]

In August 2018, Newmark donated $1 million to Mother Jones to help the magazine combat fake news.[11]

Through Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Newmark has contributed more than $40 million to journalism initiatives since 2015. In 2017, he donated $1 million each to ProPublica and the Poynter Institute.[12] He made a $20 million endowment to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which was subsequently renamed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.[13] Newmark also has a private charitable foundation, to which he contributed $50 million in 2016. Newmark's foundation supports military families, voter registration efforts, and women in technology.[14] In 2018 Newmark's donations totaled $143 million.[15] In 2019, he donated $6 million to Consumer Reports to fund a Digital Lab focused on consumer privacy rights and digital security.[16]

Newmark has served as an advisor or board member for the Sunlight Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, the Tech Policy Summit, the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, PolitiFact, Consumers Union and Girls Who Code.[17][18]

Personal life

Newmark splits his time between San Francisco's Cole Valley and the West Village in New York City.[19] He describes himself as a non-practicing, secular Jew, joking that his rabbi was the late singer Leonard Cohen.[2] Newmark married Eileen Whelpley in December 2012.[20]

Net worth

In May 2017, Forbes estimated that Newmark's net worth is at least $1.3 billion based on his ownership of at least 42% of Craigslist.[21] He called a prior $400 million Forbes estimate of his net worth "bogus." In an interview published in 2017 he said that "By monetizing Craigslist the way I did in 1999, I probably gave away already 90 percent or more of my potential net worth."[22] Newmark has described his business philosophy as "minimal profit" rather than non profit: "Basically I just decided on a different business model in '99, nothing altruistic. While Silicon Valley VCs and bankers were telling me I should become a billionaire, I decided no one needs to be a billionaire — you should know when enough is enough. So I decided on a minimal business model, and that's worked out pretty well. This means I can give away tremendous amounts of money to the nonprofits I believe in."[19]


In 2014, he was one of 60 Democratic Party donors who urged the creation of a system of public election funding.[23]

In 2016, Newmark joined with the progressive RAD Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies (founded by Democratic Party stalwart Stefan Hankin) to commission a poll examining user perceptions about social media conflicts during the 2016 election year.[24]

Newmark has donated to the presidential campaign of Democratic Senator and former United States Secretary of State John Kerry.[1] He also supported former President Barack Obama.[25] In 2015, Variety reported that he contributed to the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.[26]


  1. Morristown Daily Record: "Web guru hails from Morristown" Archived April 14, 2013, at June 26, 2004
  2. "Craig Newmark interview". "SomethingJewish". Archived from the original on December 13, 2005. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  3. "Case Western Reserve University selects honorary doctorates awardees" Archived September 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Case Western Reserve University. March 25, 2008
  4. Wolf, Gary (August 24, 2009). "Why Craigslist is such a mess". Retrieved May 22, 2017.
  5. "The Josh Kornbluth Show: Craig Newmark" (SWF). KQED-TV / Google. October 17, 2005. pp. 27 minute runtime. Retrieved February 8, 2007.
  6. "craigconnects - Connecting the World for the Common Good".
  7. Mitroff, Sarah (July 16, 2012). "Craig Newmark Sits at the Top and Bottom of Craigslist". Wired. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  8. Usborne, Ryan (November 23, 2005). "Entrepreneur taps mistrust of media for new venture". The Independent. Retrieved February 8, 2006.
  9. Robin Wauters (March 8, 2011). "Craigslist Founder Launches craigconnects: "The Biggest Thing In My Life"". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  10. Devil Coldewey (January 26, 2017). "Craig Newmark puts $500K towards reducing harassment on Wikipedia". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  11. Beard, David (August 27, 2018). "A million-dollar gift to journalism, without ties, and the reason for that". Poynter Institute. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  12. Benjamin Mullin (March 1, 2017). "Craig Newmark Foundation gives $1 million to ProPublica". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  13. David Beard (June 11, 2018). "Craig Newmark's biggest bet on news: The next generation". Poynter Institute. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  14. Au-Yeung, Angel (August 13, 2018). "Why Billionaire Craig Of Craigslist Is Giving Millions To Journalism And Education". Forbes. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  15. "Which Bay Area billionaire gave away the most money last year?". SFGate. February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  16. St. John, Allen (June 6, 2019). "Consumer Reports Launches New Digital Lab". Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  17. "Craig Newmark Joins Girls Who Code's Board of Directors - girlswhocode". girlswhocode. May 8, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  18. "Craig Newmark". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  19. "Craig from Craigslist's Second Act". June 1, 2017.
  20. Drowned in a tsunami of Frappuccinos. SFGate (2012-12-27). Retrieved on 2013-08-27.
  21. Ryan Mac (May 3, 2017). "Craig Newmark Founded Craigslist To Give Back, Now He's A Billionaire". Forbes. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  22. Ken Doctor (February 16, 2017). "Newsonomics: Craig Newmark, journalism's new Six Million Dollar Man". Harvard College. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  23. "Major Democratic donors press Congress for campaign finance reform". February 7, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  24. Brandy Shaul. "Poll: 57% of Americans Feel Trump Supporters Have 'Very Aggressive' Online Behavior" (6 May 2016). Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. "Craig Newmark, Tech Genius, Is an Obama Man". Reagan, Gillian. October 29, 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  26. Ted Johnson (July 15, 2015). "Hillary Clinton's Big Hollywood Donors Help Raise $46 Million-Plus". Retrieved May 9, 2017.

Further reading

Media related to Craig Newmark at Wikimedia Commons

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