A Legacy of Leadership and Philanthropy

Susan and John A. Sobrato

Susan and John A. Sobrato

One can clearly see the far-reaching impact of John A. and Susan Sobrato’s legacy throughout Santa Clara University. The Sobrato family story of success and giving back is the classic American success story for the ages.

“I was the first in my Italian immigrant family to go to college,” says John A. Sobrato ’60. “My education was grounded in ethics, and by giving back to the community, I hope that students for generations to come will have an opportunity to learn just like my family and I did.”

As founder and principal of The Sobrato Organization, John has focused on commercial property for the high technology industry since 1974, developing and building more than 150 office and research & development facilities. The Sobratos have also owned and/or developed more than 10,000 apartment units.

For decades, the Sobratos have been tireless and generous champions and leaders for Catholic education, and for Santa Clara University, in particular. The legacy of giving has also been passed on to their children and grandchildren, many of whom are also part of the Bronco family.

“Our children feel it’s as important as we do,” says Susan. “And I think that’s part of the Catholic tradition—if you’re fortunate and if you can do it, they do it. What we do makes me very proud of our family.”

One of the Sobrato’s first major gifts to SCU was to endow the chair for the dean of engineering, during Fr. William Rewak’s tenure as the University’s 26th president. In 1995, their donation supported landscaping around the perimeter of the campus. Their generosity continued during the years with support of the Sobrato Residence Hall, the Harrington Learning Commons, Sobrato Technology Center, Orradre Library, and Loyola Hall. The Abby Sobrato Mall, a beautiful pedestrian walkway, was gifted with their son, John M. Sobrato, in honor of his late wife.

Their most recent investment of $100 million in the University establishes the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation, a state-of-the-art complex for transformational STEM education at Santa Clara. By bringing together related classes that have been scattered across the campus, the new center will enable students—across several disciplines—to collaborate more efficiently and effectively.

This game-changing gift reflects the Sobrato’s commitment to helping solve world problems with ethical and compassionate innovation and leadership. Beyond campus, it also speaks to their dedication to sustaining a strong and vibrant Silicon Valley community.

While the Sobrato family legacy is physically evident throughout the entire campus, it also demonstrates the essence of all that the University stands for—a transformative education, student success, giving back to the community, and a bold vision for the future.

“If you are successful in a particular business, you have an obligation to share some of that success with the communities where you were able to succeed,” says John.

If you would like to learn how you can support Santa Clara with gifts that shape our future, please contact the Gift Planning team at 408-554-2108 or giftplanning@scu.edu.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Santa Clara University a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to Santa Clara University, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-1400, or its successor thereto, ______________ [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to SCU or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to SCU as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to SCU as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and SCU where you agree to make a gift to SCU and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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