John A. Sobrato

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John A. Sobrato
Born (1939-05-23) May 23, 1939 (age 82)
San Francisco, California, US
EducationSanta Clara University
TitleFounder and chairman, The Sobrato Organization
Spouse(s)Susan Sobrato

John Albert Sobrato (born c. May 23, 1939)[2] is an American billionaire real estate developer, and the founder of the Cupertino, California-based Sobrato Organization, a Silicon Valley development firm specializing in commercial and residential real estate.[3] He has been listed as one of the richest Americans for many years, and he and his family have made large philanthropic donations to a variety of causes.

Early life[]

John Sobrato was born to Ann Ainardi (1915-2000) John Mossimo Sobrato (1895 - 1952). Sobrato's parents met in the 1930s and married in 1938, even though he was 20 years her senior. Sobrato's father owned a popular San Francisco restaurant, John's Rendezvous. After his father's death from cancer in 1952, Sobrato's mother sold the restaurant and used the proceeds to begin investing in real estate.[4]


Sobrato began his own real estate investing in 1957, while still in college at Santa Clara University.[3][5] Beginning in 1972 he worked closely with another successful Silicon Valley investor, Carl Berg, for many years.[6] He founded the Sobrato Organization in 1979; his son, John Michael Sobrato, took over leadership of the company in 1998. The company grew to hold more than 110 commercial buildings and more than 30 apartment complexes. In 2013, both father and son announced that they were moving away from managing the operations of the company to focus on charitable activities.[3][7]

Sobrato and his family are listed at #110 on the 2014 Forbes 400 list with an estimated net worth of $4.8 billion, and at #340 on The World's Billionaires list as of May 10, 2014.[8]

Sobrato and his son have both signed on the Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge to donate their wealth for charitable purposes. By the close of 2014, the Sobrato Philanthropies (which encompass the Sobrato Family Foundation, family-directed giving, and corporate giving through The Sobrato Organization) had given more than $314 million in money and property.[2] Major beneficiaries have included Santa Clara University,[2] Sobrato High School, and Bellarmine College Preparatory.[9] In 2015, he and his wife offered the biggest ever individual pledge to the University of San Francisco, worth $15 million.[10]

Personal life[]

Sobrato and his wife Susan live in Atherton, California.[11] Sue and John have three children, John Michael Sobrato, Sheri Sobrato Brisson, and Lisa Sobrato Sonsini, five grandsons, and two granddaughters.[12] His son John M. Sobrato is a minority owner of San Francisco 49ers.


  1. ^ Bloomberg (2 February 2021). "Bloomberg Billionaire Index: John Albert Sobrato". Bloomberg LP.
  2. ^ a b c David Louie, "Sobrato family makes mark on South Bay", KGO-TV, April 15, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Members Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine at The Sobrato Organization website
  4. ^ Elise Banducci, "Head of Silicon Valley Real Estate Development Business Dies at 85", Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, December 19, 2000  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  5. ^ Frederick W. Marrazzo, Italians in the Santa Clara Valley (Arcadia Publishing, 2007), ISBN 978-0738555621, p. 125. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  6. ^ Nathan Donato-Weinstein, "Carl Berg's next big adventure", Silicon Valley Business Journal, November 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Dana Hull, "Sobratos Step Down from Running Daily Operations at the Family's Real Estate Company", Oakland Tribune, July 1, 2013  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  8. ^ "John A. Sobrato - The Forbes 400 Richest Americans". Retrieved 2014-05-10.
  9. ^ "Silicon Valley Philanthropic and Real-Estate Paragon John A. Sobrato and His Wife Susan to be Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award", Business Wire, 2 October 2015. Accessed 17 February 2016.
  10. ^ Donato-Weinstein, Natahn. "Sobratos making largest-ever individual gift to USF", Biz Journals, 18 November 2015. Accessed 17 February 2016.
  11. ^ "John A. Sobrato". Forbes. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Members, Purpose & Values - The Sobrato Organization & Sobrato Philanthropies". Retrieved 12 September 2018.

External links[]

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