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Craig Newmark

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Craig Newmark
Newmark in 2023
Craig Alexander Newmark

(1952-12-06) December 6, 1952 (age 71)
EducationCase Western Reserve University (BS, MS)
OrganizationCraig Newmark Philanthropies
Known forFounder of Craigslist
Eileen 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 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 was born to Joyce and Lee Newmark, a bookkeeper and an insurance and meat salesman, who were Jewish, in 1952 in Morristown, New Jersey.[1] As a child, Newmark liked science fiction and comic books, and wanted to become a paleontologist.[2] 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, he 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

Prior to establishing Craigslist, Newmark 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, Michigan, and then Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[10] He moved to San Francisco in 1993 after accepting a position with Charles Schwab.[11] There, a coworker introduced him to the World Wide Web—which at the time was still relatively free of commercials.[12]

In 1995, Newmark started emailing a list of upcoming events to a few friends to "cultivate a bit of community".[13] 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 craigslist.org in 1996, as a place where people could exchange information, mostly without charge.[12] It started off as a newsletter about San Francisco events.[14] 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.[15] In her book An Internet for the People: The Politics and Promise of craigslist, Jessa Lingel described the website as "the internet ungentrified".[16] 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.[17] As of 2018, he continued to respond to Craigslist customer service inquiries, primarily dealing with spammers and scammers.[17][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.[18]


As far back as 2004, Newmark was using his wealth to support philanthropic causes.[19] His philanthropic interests include journalism and cybersecurity.[20] In 2015, he founded Craig Newmark Philanthropies[21] which acts as an umbrella for his other foundations,[22] 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.[17]

In 2018, Newmark's donations totaled $143 million.[23]

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Newmark 17th out of 50 in its 2020 ranking of individual donors, giving a total of $100 million.[24] In 2022, Newmark donated $81 million through the Craig Newmark Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund again ranking in Chronicle of Philanthropy's top 50.[25]

In December 2022, he decided that he plans on giving almost all of his money to charity.[26]


While consulting for the VA Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning Newmark dubbed himself "Nerd-in-Residence” while focusing his computer science skills on the Blue Button initiative, which is designed to make electronic health records, including family history, available to all veterans thereby accelerating the processing of claims, improving patient care, and saving lives.[27]

In 2022, Craig Newmark Philanthropies announced a $2.95 million grant to The Bob Woodruff Foundation's Got Your 6 Network. As of 2022, Craig Newmark Philanthropies reported more than $28 million in contributions to military and veteran communities, including Military Veterans in Journalism.[28]

In 2023, Newmark donated $1 million to Blue Star Families.[29]

In 2023, Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated $10 million to The Bob Woodruff Foundation's Got Your 6 Network at the 17th Annual Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser gala that will support comprehensive mental health services for veterans and their families.[30]

In 2023, Newmark pledged an additional $100 million to organizations focused on veterans and military families.[31]


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".[32]

In 2019, Newmark donated $6 million to Consumer Reports to fund a Digital Lab focused on consumer privacy rights and cybersecurity.[33]

In 2021, Newmark supported the Institute for Security and Technology's anti-ransomware program;[34] a six-month study on misinformation and disinformation by the Aspen Institute’s Commission on Information Disorder;[35] the establishment of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University; [36] the Reporters Without Borders Journalism Trust Initiative;[37] and provided funding to expand PBS NewsHour's coverage of underrepresented communities.[38]

In 2022, Newmark committed $50 million to the Cyber Civil Defense initiative.[39] As of April 2022, approximately $30 million of this commitment had been awarded. [40]

In 2023, Craig Newmark Philanthropies announced it would double its donations from $50 million to $100 million for fighting cyber threats.[41]

Other donations Newmark made include: $1 million to the Global Cyber Alliance, $150,000 to Women in CyberSecurity, and $250,000 to the Girl Scouts for cybersecurity programs.[42] He is also an avid supporter of Girls Who Code.[43][44]


In 2006, The Guardian reported that Newmark was "readying his armoury of cash to invest in citizen journalism projects".[1]

Between 2016 and 2020, Newmark donated $170 million to support journalism, combating harassment of journalists, cybersecurity, and election integrity, including $1 million each to ProPublica and the Poynter Institute in 2017.[17]

In September 2018, he gave $20 million to fund the creation of The Markup, a non-profit news organization.[42]

That year, Newmark donated $1 million to Mother Jones to help the magazine combat fake news.[45]

In 2021, Newmark donated $5 million to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.[40]

Newmark established a $20 million endowment at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which was subsequently renamed the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.[17]

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Newmark's 2020 donations included $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League[22]

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.[46]

In 2021, Newmark supported the establishment of the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University;[36] the Reporters Without Borders Journalism Trust Initiative;[37] and provided funding to expand PBS NewsHour's coverage of underrepresented communities.[38]

As of 2022, it was estimated that Newmark had given between $180 million and $200 million for journalism and fighting disinformation.[40]

In 2024, Craig Newmark Philanthropies announced a $10 million dollar launch gift to the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York with the aim of eventually making the school tuition-free for all of its students.[47]

Other journalistic causes Newmark has supported include: the Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, PolitiFact,[48] Poynter Institute, Columbia Journalism Review.[44][20] Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, The GroundTruth Project, and the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Berkeley Center for New Media.[49][13]

Other philanthropic activities[edit]

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.[20]

Bloomberg News reported that Newmark donated $10 million to charities focused on hunger issues in 2020, as well.[50]

According to Newmark, as of May 2021 he'd given a total of $25 million to organizations working on food security.[51]

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.[52]

Other examples of organizations and causes Newmark has supported include: OneVoice,[19] Sunlight Foundation,[20] Voto Latino,[53] and the Wikimedia Foundation.[49]

He has given $100,000 to support wildlife rescue groups.[42] Newmark has said that he is involved in pigeon rescue.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Newmark married Eileen Whelpley in December 2012,[54] and they enjoy birding together.[13] He currently lives in New York City,[55][13] flies commercial,[56] does not own a car, and prefers using public transport.[57]

Newmark describes himself as a non-practicing, secular Jew, joking that his rabbi was the singer Leonard Cohen.[58] He is also a fan of Tori Amos, Lou Reed,[58] and the TV shows Pushing Daisies and The Simpsons.[59]

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.[60] 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."[61]

Newmark opposed the Iraq War and believed White House journalists “failed in their jobs” and did not "speak truth to power".[62] In 2014, he was one of 60 Democratic Party donors who urged the creation of a system of public election funding.[63] 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.[64]

Newmark supported Barack Obama's election campaign in 2008, volunteering for him on the campaign trail as an "official technology surrogate" and praising his use of technology to promote grassroots democracy.[65] In the 2020 election, Newmark supported Joe Biden's campaign, citing his "commitment to fighting corruption" and "record of standing up for our veterans".[66]


  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". NJ.com. Advance Local. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  7. ^ "#1613 Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  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". NJ.com. 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. ^ "Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  12. ^ a b Iqbal, Navid (June 26, 2004). "Web guru hails from Morristown". Daily Record. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d Bereznak, Alyssa (June 1, 2017). "Craig From Craigslist's Second Act". The Ringer. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  14. ^ "Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  15. ^ Boulton, Terynn (September 6, 2013). "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Craig From Craigslist". Gizmodo. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  16. ^ Lingel, Jessa (February 19, 2020). "What craigslist can teach us about Web 2.0". Penn Today. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Boitnott, John (July 2, 2019). "What Craig Newmark Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Philanthropy". Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Iqbal, Navid (June 26, 2004). "Web guru hails from Morristown". Daily Record. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  20. ^ 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. Archived from the original on August 17, 2022. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  21. ^ "#1613 Craig Newmark". Forbes. April 7, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  22. ^ a b "The Philanthropy 50". www.philanthropy.com. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  23. ^ Robertson, Michelle (February 28, 2019). "Which Bay Area billionaire gave away the most money last year?". SFGate. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  24. ^ Di Mento, Maria (February 9, 2021). "These were the 50 biggest charitable donors in 2020". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  25. ^ a b Gamboa, Glenn (February 14, 2023). "Q&A: Craig Newmark focuses gifts on journalism, cyberdefense". AP NEWS. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  26. ^ "Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  27. ^ Fairchild, Caitlin (February 5, 2014). "Craig Newmark's Badge of Honor: VA 'Nerd-in-Residence'". Government Executive. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  28. ^ Longley, Liz (May 27, 2022). "On Memorial Day, Here's How Some New and Longtime Funders Have Veterans' Six". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  29. ^ "Blue Star Families Receives $1 Million from Craig Newmark". Blue Star. April 29, 2023. Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  30. ^ "17th Annual Stand Up for Heroes". YouTube. Bob Woodruff Foundation. November 10, 2023. Retrieved November 13, 2023.
  31. ^ III, Leo Shane (June 20, 2023). "$100M pledge to vets group is money 'owed' to them, Newmark says". Military Times. Retrieved January 29, 2024.
  32. ^ Devil Coldewey (January 26, 2017). "Craig Newmark puts $500K towards reducing harassment on Wikipedia". Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ Riley, Tonya (June 23, 2021). "Craig Newmark Philanthropies donated $450k to boost anti-ransomware coalition". Cyberscoop. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  35. ^ Ward, Victoria (March 24, 2021). "Prince Harry takes second job alongside Rupert Murdoch's daughter-in-law". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  36. ^ a b Mello, John P. (September 10, 2021). "Could a reboot make social media a nicer place?". BBC News. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  37. ^ a b Fitzpatrick, Michael (May 18, 2021). "French media watchdog launches bid to promote trustworthy news sources". Radio France Internationale. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  38. ^ a b Katz, A.J. (March 18, 2021). "Here's How PBS NewsHour Is Expanding Its Coverage Capacity". Adweek. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  39. ^ Gamboa, Glenn (September 16, 2022). "Q&A: Craig Newmark aims to defend democracy via philanthropy". Associated Press. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  40. ^ a b c Karon, Paul (April 19, 2022). "A Tech Industry Pioneer Targets Cybersecurity, and Calls for a New Era of "Cyber Civil Defense"". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved May 24, 2023.
  41. ^ Frank, Nehemiah (March 5, 2023). "White House hosts roundtable with Black cybersecurity experts". The Black Wall Street Times. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  42. ^ a b c 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.
  43. ^ "Craig Newmark Joins Girls Who Code's Board of Directors - girlswhocode". girlswhocode. May 8, 2017.
  44. ^ a b "Craig Newmark". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  45. ^ Beard, David (August 27, 2018). "A million-dollar gift to journalism, without ties, and the reason for that". Poynter Institute. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  46. ^ Richard, Danielson (February 5, 2019). "Craiglist's Craig Newmark gives Poynter $5 million for ethics center". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  47. ^ "Craig Newmark Is Donating $10M to Help CUNY's Journalism School Become Tuition-Free". Observer. January 25, 2024. Retrieved January 29, 2024.
  48. ^ Beard, David (August 27, 2018). "Newmark's gift to Mother Jones follows threats to journalism, factual information". Poynter. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  49. ^ a b Zhou, Marrian (August 28, 2018). "Craigslist founder gives Mother Jones $1 million to fight fake news". CNET. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  50. ^ Krader, Katy (October 7, 2020). "Craigslist Founder Is Donating $10 Million to Fight U.S. Hunger Crisis". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ Stracqualursi, Veronica (February 26, 2021). "50 prominent men join push for 'Marshall Plan for Moms' proposal". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  53. ^ Wildermuth, John (August 28, 2019). "Craigslist founder Craig Newmark donates $250,000 for election security". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  54. ^ Garchik, Leah (December 17, 2012). "Drowned in a tsunami of Frappuccinos". SFGate. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  55. ^ "Craig Newmark: Craigslist founder fights to protect democracy". www.ny1.com. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  56. ^ Streitfield, David (October 17, 2018). "Craig Newmark, Newspaper Villain, Is Working to Save Journalism". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  57. ^ Rudgard, Olivia (July 22, 2019). "Craigslist founder Craig Newmark". Telegraph. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  58. ^ a b Litt, Anne (February 25, 2009). "Guest DJ Project: Craig Newmark". KCRW. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  59. ^ Hart, Kim (October 3, 2008). "Craigslist Founder Gets Political". Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  60. ^ "Craig Newmark". Forbes. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  61. ^ Doctor, Ken (February 16, 2017). "Newsonomics: Craig Newmark, journalism's new Six Million Dollar Man". Nieman Lab. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  62. ^ Paul Harris (February 18, 2006). "The nerd who became a crusader". The Guardian. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  63. ^ "Major Democratic donors press Congress for campaign finance reform". United Press International. February 7, 2014. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  64. ^ Brandy Shaul (May 6, 2016). "Poll: 57% of Americans Feel Trump Supporters Have 'Very Aggressive' Online Behavior". Adweek. Retrieved April 2, 2021.
  65. ^ Reagan, Gillian (October 29, 2008). "Craig Newmark, Tech Genius, Is an Obama Man". Observer. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  66. ^ Michela Tindera (May 5, 2020). "Biden Extends Lead Over Trump In Race For Billionaire Donors". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2021.

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