A new countywide education foundation that will serve as a clearinghouse for businesses and individuals interested in giving to public schools has been launched with the hope of tapping the collective wealth of Silicon Valley and channeling it to science and math education.

The Silicon Valley Education Foundation is a merger of two foundations – the San Jose Education Foundation, which served schools in cities, and the Santa Clara County Education Foundation, which served the unincorporated areas of the county.

“It’s a friendly merger,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Campbell. “The dividends will benefit schoolchildren in the valley.”

Education foundations large and small raise millions of dollars each year for schools and districts across the valley, paying for arts and music programs, books and school materials and grants to teachers. But the “challenge is a fractured school community,” said Bruce Chizen, former CEO of Adobe and vice chairman of the new foundation.

Santa Clara County has 33 public school districts, plus one adult education district. So for businesses interested in making a valleywide impact on education, he said, there isn’t a central place to give.

“In my humble opinion, this is more exciting than the pending merger of Microsoft and Yahoo,” Chizen joked.

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