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Karla Jurvetson
Karla Jurvetson Headshot.jpg
Jurvetson in 2018
Karla Tinklenberg

1965/1966 (age 54–55)
Nationality American
Occupation Physician, psychiatrist philanthropist, political organizer
Steve Jurvetson
(m. 1990; divorce 2018)
Children 2
  • Jared Tinklenberg (father)

Karla Jurvetson (born 1965/66) is an American physician, philanthropist, and political organizer who lives in Silicon Valley.


Jurvetson works as a private practice physician in Los Altos, California.

Personal life

Karla Jurvetson was born in New Haven, CT and grew up in Palo Alto, CA. She earned a bachelor's degree in human biology from Stanford University, a medical doctorate from the University of California, and completed her residency at Stanford Hospital.

In 1990, she married Steve Jurvetson, who become a Silicon Valley early-stage investor in companies including SpaceX in 2000 and Tesla in 2006. They were married for more than 25 years and have two children. They separated in 2015, she filed for divorce in 2016, and as of 2018 divorce proceedings were underway. In 2017, to honor her father's 50-year career as a medical school professor, Jurvetson helped fund the construction of the new Stanford Medical Center and endowed a professorship in her parents’ names.


Jurvetson served on the board of directors of Peninsula Open Space Trust from 2003 to 2006 and was a founding donor to Wildlife Conservation Network (2002 to present). After touring deforestation on the slopes of Mauna Kea in 2016, she sponsored the planting of 1,000 indigenous trees through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

She served as a school board for The Nueva School, which is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and was previously a kindergarten through 8th grade school. She co-chaired the school's $50 million capital campaign, which resulted in the construction of the San Mateo campus and the addition of a high school to Nueva (2011–2018).

Jurvetson has been a trustee on several other non-profit boards, including the San Francisco Ballet (2000-2003). She was named by Gentry Magazine as one of the top 50 philanthropists in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As of 2020, Jurvetson is a supporter of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and she serves on the Advisory Board of Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, which focuses on "the way we use private resources for public benefit."

Political activism

Karla Jurvetson has volunteered as a political organizer and a fundraiser for many progressive candidates over the past thirty years, including hosting a Democratic National Committee (DNC) reception at her home in November 2019 with President Barack Obama. At that time, the DNC had just $8.7 million cash on hand and $7 million in debts, compared to the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign, which had over $158 million cash on hand. Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry and his wife, Ayesha Curry, were co-hosts for the event, which raised over $3.5 million for the DNC Unity Fund that was formed to support the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.

As a Stanford undergraduate in 1988, Jurvetson went door-to-door for Anna Eshoo during her first campaign for Congress, handing out VCR tapes of Eshoo discussing her candidacy. In 2008 Jurvetson volunteered in the swing state of Nevada for then-candidate Barack Obama, as well as making 46 contributions to Democrats totaling $128,700.

In 2016, she canvassed door-to-door in Nevada for Hillary Clinton and for Catherine Cortez Masto, who became the first Latina U.S. Senator. After the election of Donald Trump in November 2016, her donations to Democratic candidates markedly increased to $6.9 million in advance of the 2018 midterms, making her one of the nation's top political donors.

In an interview about the 2018 elections, Jurvetson said, "Women disproportionately were the activists, the volunteers, the people who drove change ... Women have gained enough economic power and political power so we can translate our frustration into action ... I feel like it’s our moral duty, if we’re not going to run ourselves, to support the women who are brave enough to put their names on the ballot."

In 2018, Jurvetson also helped with voter registration drives, co-hosted local fundraisers, and contributed to each of the 41 candidates who flipped a Congressional district from red to blue in the midterms, when Democrats regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Controversy arose with her large donation of $5.4m to Women Vote!, the political action committee run by EMILY's List. Her donation was in the form of Baidu shares, a Chinese internet company traded on the US stock exchange and was unusual outside of Silicon Valley since it was in the form of stock shares. The controversy arose because only American citizens can donate to U.S. elections. An EMILY's List spokesperson said, "We cleared the donation through our lawyers". In November 2018, Jurvetson was listed as one of five "surprising million dollar donors" to the US midterm elections.

In 2019 Jurvetson also contributed over $2 million to Fair Fight, which was founded by Stacey Abrams after her loss by less than 55,000 votes in the race for Georgia governor against Brian Kemp, which was marred by Kemp having cancelled the voter registrations of 1.4 million Georgians when he was Secretary of State. Fair Fight combats voter suppression, especially among historically disenfranchised communities. In January 2020 she donated $14.6 million to Persist PAC, which supported Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign. In June 2020, when Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination, she contributed $1,000,000 to his PAC, Unite the Country. As of July 2020, she had made over 500 individual donations to Democratic candidates, ranging from local to federal office.

She currently is on the Board of Advisors for The Collective, which has the mission of increasing black representation in the political process.

Jurvetson also serves on the Board of Directors of EMILY's List, the nation's largest organization for women in politics, which has over five million members.

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