Venture capital Vinod Khosla and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton have joined forces to bankroll Vittana, the Seattle non-profit that’s attempting to wipe out youth poverty through education-oriented microloans. The contributions of Khosla and Barton mark the largest in Vittana’s history, and set the organization on a path to become self sustainable.
The exact amount of the donations, which will be used to grow Vittana’s organization, were not disclosed. But they are part of a $3 million fundraising campaign that founder Kushal Chakrabarti recently kicked off, dubbing it the “League of Extraordinary Tech Superheroes.” Others who have participated in the campaign include Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman; Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya and angel investors Hadi and Ali Partovi. Total raised to date stands at about $1.3 million.
Chakrabarti said the Vittana operates very much like a startup, and he equated the $1.3 million to a startup’s series A financing.
Khosla and Barton are two of the biggest names in technology, and their contributions are significant. A co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Khosla currently runs Khosla Ventures. In addition to co-founding Zillow, Barton previously served as CEO of online travel giant Expedia.
“A lot of non-profits talk about changing the world — I believe Vittana truly can,” said Khosla in a statement. So far this year, Vittana donors have helped support 8,000 youth, with a goal of more than tripling that number in 2013. Microloans to students have grown substantially, from $1.6 million last year to an estimated $5.25 million this year.
Chakrabarti, a former Amazon.com employee, said the 25-person organization will reach sustainability at about $70 million in annual loan volume. The money from Khosla, Barton and the others will help the organization move toward that goal.
[Editor's note: GeekWire has partnered with Vittana this holiday season for the Geeks Give Back campaign. The winning team that raises the most money for this worthy cause will be announced at tonight's GeekWire Gala]