SAN JOSE, CA. -- The Silicon Valley Education Foundation will host its 7th annual Pioneers & Purpose dinner celebrating achievements in education on Thursday, Sept. 15, at the Fairmont Hotel in downtown San jose.
The Pioneers & Purpose dinner is a fundraiser benefitting SVEF programs for students and teachers across Silicon Valley. Programs include summer and after-school intervention programs for middle school students in math and science, teacher innovation grants.
This year, the event honors Faysal Sohail, a prominent venture capitalist and philanthropist who has led numerous education initiatives in Silicon Valley and around the globe, with the 2011 Pioneer Business Leader Award for his outstanding contributions to business and education.
Awards will also be given out to four noteworthy individuals and programs that set a new benchmark in Science, Technology and Engineering, and Math education. Each of the four “STEM Benchmark Award” categories are sponsored by Symantec, Oracle, Microsoft and Ernst & Young, respectively.
Sohail, a co-founder and retiring board chairman of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, is a general partner at CMEA Capital in San Francisco. He has led venture capital funding to numerous key start-ups in Silicon Valley’s technology and energy sectors.
Sohail has used his vast business networking to gain corporate support to build programs that connect education and technology opportunities in Silicon Valley and across the world. He has especially focused on promoting STEM education – science, technology, engineering and math – through the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and its programs to encourage today’s students to become Silicon Valley’s next innovators and leaders.
His work in education across the globe revolves around two specific goals: getting students in the developed world to college, and getting students in the developing world to become computer literate.
Sohail has dedicated his time and resources to building computer institutes to help thousands of children in small villages in Asia and Africa become computer literate. He has also had an integral role in the development of the curriculum, computer lab setup and the hiring of instructors.
“I am honored to be given this award by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, which has made a huge impact in improving STEM achievement in Silicon Valley and is helping so many of our students prepare to become the technology leaders of tomorrow,” Sohail said. “Education is the only true economic equalizer in the world.”
“Faysal’s commitment to education and technology is truly inspiring,” said SVEF CEO Muhammed Chaudhry. “He has taken his passion for education and made a huge impact here at home and around the world that has changed the lives of thousands of children.”
Ray Bingham, vice chair of SVEF’s board of directors, said honoring Sohail was “a natural choice, given his extraordinary work in improving the lives of children everywhere. His passion about education exemplifies the kind of leadership this award is all about."
John W. Thompson, retired Symantec Corp. CEO and last year’s recipient of the Pioneer Business Leader Award, has been named to this year’s honorary event committee.
“Faysal Sohail’s selection this year is well deserved. His work has transformed the lives of children across the globe,” said Thompson.
The Pioneer Business Leader award has been given to several other distinguished leaders in Silicon Valley since 2005. In addition to Thompson, they include Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers, former Adobe Systems CEO Bruce Chizen, SanDisk Corp. Board Chairman Michael Marks, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, and Ray Bingham, managing director of General Atlantic.
Proceeds from the dinner will go toward SVEF’s work to raise student performance in the areas of STEM education across Santa Clara County’s 32 school districts.
The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The Fairmont Hotel is located at 170 S. Market St., San Jose.
Silicon Valley Education Foundation focuses on raising student performance in the critical areas of math and science across Santa Clara County’s 32 school districts. Our goal is to be the leading advocate for public education in our region. We are known for our focus on achieving results, partnering, and emphasizing creativity and innovation. For more information about our programs, visit www.svefoundation.org.