Craig Newmark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark, 2011 (cropped).jpg
Newmark in 2011
Born (1952-12-06) December 6, 1952 (age 70)
Alma materCase Western Reserve University
OrganizationCraig Newmark Philanthropies
Known forFounder of the website Craigslist
SpouseEileen Whelpley (m. 2012)

Craig Alexander Newmark (born December 6, 1952) is an American internet entrepreneur and philanthropist best known as the founder of the classifieds website Craigslist. Prior to founding Craigslist, he worked as a computer programmer for companies such as IBM, Bank of America, and Charles Schwab. Newmark served as chief executive officer of Craigslist from its founding until 2000. He founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies in 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Newmark, the son of Joyce and Lee Newmark, was born to a Jewish family in 1952 in Morristown, New Jersey.[1] As a child, Newmark liked science fiction and comic books, and wanted to become a paleontologist.[2] Newmark's mother was a bookkeeper and his father was an insurance and meat salesman. When Newmark was thirteen, his father died from cancer. His mother then moved him and his younger brother, Jeff, to Jacob Ford Village.[1][3]

As a teenager, Newmark attended Morristown High School, where he became interested in physics.[3] He wore taped together, black-rimmed glasses and a pocket protector.[4] In an interview, Newmark described his high school self as "possible nerd patient zero".[5] During high school, he sang in the school choir, joined the physics club,[2] co-captained the debate team, and was in the honor society.[3] Newmark graduated high school in 1971.[6]

During his freshman year of college, Newmark began studying computer science.[2] He earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in computing and information sciences from Case Western Reserve University[7] in 1975 and 1977, respectively.[8]


Newmark in 2014

Newmark is best known as the founder of Craigslist. Prior to establishing the website, he worked as a contract computer programmer for companies such as Bank of America, Sun Microsystems, and others.[9] His first job out of college was with IBM, where he worked for 17 years as a programmer and systems engineer. During that time, he lived in Boca Raton, Florida, Detroit, and then Pittsburgh.[10] He moved to San Francisco in 1993 after accepting a position with Charles Schwab. There, a coworker introduced him to the World Wide Web— which at the time was still relatively free of commercials.[11]

In 1995, Newmark started emailing a list of upcoming events to a few friends to "cultivate a bit of community".[12] Other people asked to be included on the list and as members grew, so did the kinds of information on the list.[1] Newmark launched in 1996, as a place where people could exchange information, mostly without charge.[11] He operated it as a hobby while continuing to work as a software engineer until 1999, when he incorporated Craigslist as a private for-profit company.[13] In her book An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of craigslist, Jessa Lingel described the website as "the internet ungentrified".[14] In 2000, Newmark stepped down as chief executive officer and handed off the role to Jim Buckmaster. Since then, Newmark has not been involved in the "day-to-day operations" of Craigslist.[15] As of 2018, he continued to respond to Craigslist customer service inquiries, primarily dealing with spammers and scammers.[15][9]

In 2005, Time magazine listed Craig Newmark as one of the 100 people shaping the world.[1]

Newmark serves on the board of several non-profit organizations such as CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Girls Who Code and Vets in Tech, among others. He also holds roles on the advisory boards of 18 other non-profits.[16]


As far back as 2004, Newmark was using his wealth to support philanthropic causes.[17] In 2006, The Guardian reported that Newmark was "readying his armoury of cash to invest in citizen journalism projects".[1] He also donated $20,000 to the non-profit NewAssignment.Net, a group attempting to combine the work of amateurs and professionals to produce investigative stories on the Internet.[18] His philanthropic interests have also included environmental issues, as well as veterans affairs.[19] He reportedly dubbed himself "Nerd-in-Residence" while consulting for the Center for Innovation of the Department of Veterans Affairs.[20] In recent years, Newmark has directed his philanthropic efforts towards nonprofits working on journalism ethics and security, cybersecurity, and election integrity.[21]

In 2011, Newmark launched Craigconnects, a non-profit initiative to support the efforts of other non-profits and public service organizations working in the areas of global poverty, the Middle East, veterans affairs, and low-income neighborhoods.[22] In 2015, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies,[23] which acts as an umbrella for his other foundations,[21] such as his private charitable foundation, to which he contributed $50 million in 2016 to support military families, voter registration efforts, and women in technology.[15]

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".[24]

Between 2016 and 2020, Newmark donated $170 million to support journalism, combating harassment of journalists, cybersecurity, and election integrity. Donations he made include: $1 million each to ProPublica and the Poynter Institute in 2017,[15] $1 million to the Global Cyber Alliance, $150,000 to Women in CyberSecurity, $250,000 to PEN America, and $250,000 to the Girl Scouts for cybersecurity programs. In September 2018, he gave $20 million to fund the creation of The Markup, a non-profit news organization.[25] In 2018, Newmark's donations totaled $143 million.[26] That year, Newmark donated $1 million to Mother Jones to help the magazine combat fake news.[27] In 2019, he donated $6 million to Consumer Reports to fund a Digital Lab focused on consumer privacy rights and digital security.[28] Newmark made a $20 million endowment to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which was subsequently renamed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.[15] According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Newmark's donations in 2020 included giving $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League, $388,000 to the American Press Institute, and $350,000 to the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine.[21] Bloomberg News reported that Newmark donated $10 million to charities focused on hunger issues in 2020, as well.[29]

Newmark gave $5 million to the Poynter Institute, which used the funds to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership. Newmark's previous donation of $1 million to the Poynter established the Craig Newmark Journalism Ethics Chair. He also gave $10 million to Columbia University to establish a center for journalism ethics and security, as well as a professorship.[30]

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Newmark 17th out of 50 in its 2020 ranking of individual donors, giving a total of $100 million.[31]

In 2021, Newmark's philanthropic efforts continued to address cybersecurity, misinformation, journalism, and food security. He supported the Institute for Security and Technology's anti-ransomware program;[32] a six-month study on misinformation and disinformation by the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder;[33] the establishment of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University;[34] the Reporters Without Borders Journalism Trust Initiative;[35] and provided funding to expand PBS NewsHour's coverage of underrepresented communities.[36] According to Newmark, as of May 2021 he'd given a total of $25 million to organizations working on food security, including $300,000 to the DC Central Kitchen.[37]

Newmark was among a group of prominent individuals who backed the Marshall Plan for Moms, which called on the Biden Administration to pass policies addressing paid family leave, training programs for women returning to work, and pay equity.[38]

In 2022, Newmark's long-standing commitment to supporting digital securities continued, with $50 million worth of commitments.[39] The pledges are in support of a broad coalition of organisation dedicated to educating, and protecting Americans from cybersecurity threats, providing measures to provide cybersecurity career opportunities, recommending and aid in development of cybersecurity tools, evolving the usability and service of cybersecurity tools and services and aiding big tech companies who contribute to equitable cybersecurity.[40]

Other examples of organizations and causes Newmark has supported include: OneVoice,[17] Sunlight Foundation,[19] Voto Latino,[41] the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, PolitiFact,[42] Poynter Institute, Columbia Journalism Review and Girls Who Code.[43][44][19] The Center for Public Integrity, Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Wikimedia Foundation, The Ground Truth Project, and the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Berkeley Center for New Media.[45][12] He has given $100,000 to support wildlife rescue groups.[25] In 2015, he donated $10,000 to Grow It Green Morristown for the installation of a composting toilet at the Early Street Community Garden. The facility was named "Craig Newmark Memorial Latrine #2". The first toilet Newmark sponsored was in the City of Jericho.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Newmark married Eileen Whelpley in December 2012,[46] and they enjoy birding together.[12] He currently lives in New York City.[47][12] He flies commercial,[48] does not own a car, and prefers using public transport.[49]

Newmark describes himself as a non-practicing, secular Jew, joking that his rabbi was the late singer Leonard Cohen.[50] He is also a fan of Tori Amos, Lou Reed,[50] and the TV shows Pushing Daisies and The Simpsons.[51]

Newmark's net worth is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In April 2020, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $1.3 billion but he has since dropped off its billionaires list.[52] In an interview published by Nieman Lab in 2017, he called a prior $400 million Forbes estimate of his net worth "bogus" and 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."[53]

Newmark opposed the Iraq War and believed White House journalists “failed in their jobs” and did not "speak truth to power".[54] In 2014, he was one of 60 Democratic Party donors who urged the creation of a system of public election funding.[55] In 2016, Newmark joined with the progressive RAD Campaign and Lincoln Park Strategies to commission a poll examining user perceptions about social media conflicts during the 2016 election.[56]

Newmark supported former President Barack Obama, volunteered for him on the campaign trail as "official technology surrogate", and praised Obama's use of technology to promote grassroots democracy.[57] In the 2020 election, Newmark supported President Joseph Biden's campaign, citing Biden's "commitment to fighting corruption" and "record of standing up for our veterans".[58]


  1. ^ a b c d e Harris, Paul (February 18, 2006). "The nerd who became a crusader". The Guardian. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Dolcourt, Jessica (July 25, 2019). "Nerdy Craigslist founder wants to change the world -- starting with your news". CNET. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Coughlin, Kevin (July 20, 2015). "You can go (at) home again". Morristown Green. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  4. ^ Davidson, Idelle (June 13, 2004). "The Craigslist Phenomenon". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Hill, Angela (June 24, 2020). "'Gotta stand up': Craigslist founder shows his support and (money) for traditional media". Bay City News Foundation. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Bangiola, Paul (September 16, 2008). "An interview with Craigslist founder: Morristown native Craig Newmark". Advance Local. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
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  8. ^ "Case Western Reserve University selects honorary doctorates awardees". Case Western Reserve University. March 25, 2008. Archived from the original on September 11, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Bangiola, Paul (September 16, 2008). "An interview with Craigslist founder: Morristown native Craig Newmark". Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  10. ^ Smith, David (July 14, 2019). "Craigslist's Craig Newmark: 'Outrage is profitable. Most online outrage is faked for profit'". The Guardian. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Iqbal, Navid (June 26, 2004). "Web guru hails from Morristown". Daily Record. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d Bereznak, Alyssa (June 1, 2017). "Craig From Craigslist's Second Act". The Ringer. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  13. ^ Boulton, Terynn (September 6, 2013). "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Craig From Craigslist". Gizmodo. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  14. ^ Lingel, Jessa (February 19, 2020). "What craigslist can teach us about Web 2.0". Penn Today. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c d e Au-Yeung, Angel (August 13, 2018). "Why Billionaire Craig Of Craigslist Is Giving Millions To Journalism And Education". Forbes. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  16. ^ Boitnott, John (July 2, 2019). "What Craig Newmark Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Philanthropy". Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  17. ^ a b Iqbal, Navid (June 26, 2004). "Web guru hails from Morristown". Daily Record. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  18. ^ Gahran, Amy (August 3, 2006). "Citizen + Pro Journalists + Money =". Poynter. Retrieved August 3, 2006.
  19. ^ a b c d Coughlin, Kevin (July 20, 2015). "You can go (at) home again…as craiglist founder Craig Newmark proves with Grow It Green Morristown". Morristown Green. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Fairchild, Caitlin (February 5, 2014). "Craig Newmark's Badge of Honor: VA 'Nerd-in-Residence'". Government Executive. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  21. ^ a b c "The Philanthropy 50". Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  22. ^ Todd, Susan (April 24, 2011). "Craigslist Founder Launches craigconnects: "The Biggest Thing In My Life"". The Times of Trenton. p. D01.
  23. ^ "#1613 Craig Newmark". Forbes. April 7, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  24. ^ Devil Coldewey (January 26, 2017). "Craig Newmark puts $500K towards reducing harassment on Wikipedia". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Au-Yeung, Angel (August 4, 2020). "Craig Newmark says misinformation is dismantling our democracy. Here's how he plans to fight it". Forbes. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  26. ^ Robertson, Michelle (February 28, 2019). "Which Bay Area billionaire gave away the most money last year?". SFGate. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  27. ^ Beard, David (August 27, 2018). "A million-dollar gift to journalism, without ties, and the reason for that". Poynter Institute. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  28. ^ Smith, David (July 14, 2019). "Craigslist's Craig Newmark: 'Outrage is profitable. Most online outrage is faked for profit'". The Guardian. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  29. ^ Krader, Katy (October 7, 2020). "Craigslist Founder Is Donating $10 Million to Fight U.S. Hunger Crisis". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  30. ^ Richard, Danielson (February 5, 2019). "Craiglist's Craig Newmark gives Poynter $5 million for ethics center". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  31. ^ Di Mento, Maria (February 9, 2021). "These were the 50 biggest charitable donors in 2020". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  32. ^ Riley, Tonya (June 23, 2021). "Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated $450k to boost anti-ransomware coalition". Cyberscoop. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  33. ^ Wward, Victoria (March 24, 2021). "Prince Harry takes second job alongside Rupert Murdoch's daughter-in-law". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  34. ^ Mello, John P. (September 10, 2021). "Could a reboot make social media a nicer place?". BBC News. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  35. ^ Fitzpatrick, Michael (May 18, 2021). "French media watchdog launches bid to promote trustworthy news sources". Radio France Internationale. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  36. ^ Katz, A.J. (March 18, 2021). "Here's How PBS NewsHour Is Expanding Its Coverage Capacity". Adweek. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  37. ^ Hayes, Laura (May 21, 2021). "Boost from Craigslist Founder Helps D.C. Central Kitchen Invest in Small Farms". Washington City Paper. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  38. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (February 26, 2021). "50 prominent men join push for 'Marshall Plan for Moms' proposal". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  39. ^ "Craig Newmark Philanthropies commits $50 million for cybersecurity". Philanthropy News Digest. April 13, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  40. ^ "Craig Newmark Philanthropies Pledges $50 Million to Cyber Civil Defense". Global Cyber Alliance. April 11, 2022. Retrieved May 4, 2022.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  41. ^ Wildermuth, John (August 28, 2019). "Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donates $250,000 for election security". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  42. ^ Beard, David (August 27, 2018). "Newmark's gift to Mother Jones follows threats to journalism, factual information". Poynter. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  43. ^ "Craig Newmark Joins Girls Who Code's Board of Directors - girlswhocode". girlswhocode. May 8, 2017.
  44. ^ "Craig Newmark". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  45. ^ Zhou, Marrian (August 28, 2018). "Craigslist founder gives Mother Jones $1 million to fight fake news". CNET. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  46. ^ Garchik, Leah (December 17, 2012). "Drowned in a tsunami of Frappuccinos". SFGate. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  47. ^ "Craig Newmark: Craigslist founder fights to protect democracy". Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  48. ^ Streitfield, David (October 17, 2018). "Craig Newmark, Newspaper Villain, Is Working to Save Journalism". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  49. ^ Rudgard, Olivia (July 22, 2019). "Craigslist founder Craig Newmark". Telegraph. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  50. ^ a b Litt, Anne (February 25, 2009). "Guest DJ Project: Craig Newmark". KCRW. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  51. ^ Hart, Kim (October 3, 2008). "Craigslist Founder Gets Political". Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  52. ^ "Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  53. ^ Doctor, Ken (February 16, 2017). "Newsonomics: Craig Newmark, journalism's new Six Million Dollar Man". Nieman Lab. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  54. ^ Paul Harris (February 18, 2006). "The nerd who became a crusader". The Guardian. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  55. ^ "Major Democratic donors press Congress for campaign finance reform". United Press International. February 7, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  56. ^ Brandy Shaul (May 6, 2016). "Poll: 57% of Americans Feel Trump Supporters Have 'Very Aggressive' Online Behavior". Adweek. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  57. ^ Reagan, Gillian (October 29, 2008). "Craig Newmark, Tech Genius, Is an Obama Man". Observer. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  58. ^ Michela Tindera (May 5, 2020). "Biden Extends Lead Over Trump In Race For Billionaire Donors". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2021.

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