Our 2023 Honorees
Nancy and Chuck Harper are two of the most beloved, respected and admired community members in the West Valley. Married now for 53 years and counting, together they have built an incredible life full of professional and personal achievements while being caring, passionate and dedicated leaders, advocates and supporters of the community. Nancy and Chuck first met at Huntington Beach High School and they both went on to graduate from the University of California at Irvine. After college Nancy taught middle school in College Station while Chuck completed his PhD in Economics at Texas A&M University before moving to the West Valley area for work in the late eighties. Together they raised their three beautiful children, Matthew, Timothy and David in the Cupertino area. They also have three lovely grandchildren, Ben, Brianna and Jazzlyn all of whom they absolutely adore.
Chuck had an extensive career in academia and earned many distinguished awards during his tenures as a professor of Economics at the University of Houston, Santa Clara University and California State University San Jose. After several years in academia, Chuck shifted to industry and took on a role as an Economist at Economic & Financial Consulting Group, Inc. where he remained for more than 25 years. Chuck has been an active member of several non-profit organizations, dedicating his life to many social and global charitable causes over the years. He has been an active member of the Cupertino
Rotary for more than 22 years. An AYSO & CYSA Youth Soccer Coach for 18 years and a Rotary International Foundation Paul Harris Fellow, Chuck has championed, sponsored or supported activities primarily focused on education, health, employment for youth, women and disadvantaged including Careers for Women, and Youth Educational Supplies Taiwan, Dialysis Machines Initiative for India, Community Water, Agriculture and Education Kenya, Covid Relief Ecuador and Careers for Women Ivory Coast, Mexico, Guatemala, Egypt, and India.
During their time in California, Nancy remained a dedicated wife, mother and community advocate. Nancy took on a multitude of community support roles including serving on Fremont Union High Schools Foundation Board 1994 to 2001, volunteering at the Food Pantry at Family Assistance Ministries in San Clemente from 2006-2012 and as a member of Inner Wheel Cupertino from 2016 to present, where she is currently President. Her dedication, service and compassion have been recognized through numerous awards including the :
Cupertino CREST Award 1997,
the Fremont Union High School District “Friend of Education” Award 1997,
the Fremont Union High School District Community Service Award 2017,
AFP Distinguished Volunteer Fundraisers Award 2018
and the Fremont Union High Schools Foundation “Circle of Believers” Award 2019
Together, Chuck and Nancy have dedicated their lives to community service. Some of their many social causes they have supported, include Wheelchair Delivery in Texcoco, Mexico; Faces of Hope (Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate Surgeries), Antigua, Guatemala; Neo-Natal Equipment Delivery in Rosarito Beach, Mexico; Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley; Via West Operation Snowflake; Cupertino Rotary Holiday Students’ Clothes Shopping; as well as WVCS’ own Back-to-School and Gift of Hope.
Twenty years ago Chuck and Nancy were both involved in the original development and construction of Vista Village at WVCS (then referred to as Cupertino Community Services). Nancy has served WVCS as a Board member (2014 to 2020) and as a regular pantry volunteer (2014 to present) while Chuck has been a member of the WVCS Audit committee and a dedicated volunteer since 2014. We are incredibly grateful and delighted to be recognizing Chuck and Nancy Harper as honorees at this year’s Chefs of Compassion!
The Sobrato Organization’s mission is to build a more equitable and sustainable world through business and philanthropic leadership. They work to inspire current and future generations to steward family resources in service of others around the world. The Sobrato Family Foundation, was launched back in 1996. Family giving has since grown under the umbrella of Sobrato Philanthropies—which includes Sobrato Family Foundation, as well as other entities—holding nearly $920 million in assets and giving $161 million in the 2020 fiscal year.
Sobrato Philanthropies is part of The Sobrato Organization, a multi-generational, family-owned, and family-led firm that has played a dynamic role in the emergence and growth of Silicon Valley for nearly 70 years.
"As a family, we inspire current and future generations to steward family resources in service of others around the world. Our organizational values and guiding principles seek to uphold this legacy."
With the goal of partnering with communities to meet immediate needs, address systemic barriers, and pursue social justice to build a more equitable and sustainable world, Sobrato Philanthropies is one the largest, most reputed and active philanthropic organizations in the country as well as in our little corner of West Valley. Guided by the business philosophy and personal values of the Sobrato family, three generations engage in grantmaking, advocacy, impact investing, and collaborative efforts to create impact locally and around the world. In 2019 they approved a plan that would expand their philanthropy and more intentionally bring together their collective, collaborative, and individual giving through their family’s foundation and other philanthropic vehicles. They have always been committed to applying the same values of mutual accountability, collaboration, engagement, excellence, and integrity across all of their philanthropic and business activities, working to leverage the combined power of their investments to create opportunities in our local community and beyond.
The Sobrato tradition of civic involvement began with Ann Sobrato (1915-2000), who exemplified the ideals of hard work and public service and cultivated these same values in her son, John A. Sobrato. For nearly 60 years, John A. and his wife Susan have shared their business success with Silicon Valley, raising their children and grandchildren to engage deeply in community concerns. This multi-generational legacy of philanthropy was formalized in 1996 by Lisa Sobrato Sonsini with the establishment of the Sobrato Family Foundation. In April 2012, John A. and Sue Sobrato, along with their son John M. Sobrato, became the first multi-generational signatories of the Giving Pledge initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates. They are in agreement. “Each of us has provided that 100% of our wealth will be donated during our lifetimes, or left to the Sobrato Family Foundation. We hope that this legacy of giving will encourage others to commit their financial resources to worthy nonprofit institutions.”
In 2019, the Sobrato Philanthropies developed a six year growth plan to increase the scale and reach of both their individual and collective giving. In addition to expanding their commitments within Silicon Valley, the family began to explore global areas of interest–including an initial portfolio focused on global ocean conservation.
West Valley Community Services has been a long-time beneficiary of the Sobrato Family Fund (now Sobrato Philanthropies). Right from the time of the construction of our Vista Village property almost 20 years ago all the way to the recent WVCS Lift Us Up campaign, Sobrato Philanthropies have ensured our organization thrive and is able to scale to meet the growing needs of our rapidly expanding community. It is an honor and privilege for WVCS to recognize their many contributions in our small way at this year’s Chefs of Compassion!