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Meet Chris Larsen, the billionaire spending $1M on the San Francisco Police Department

Learn how Larsen’s hefty donation for officer wellness and community engagement builds on his extensive history of supporting law enforcement in the City by the Bay


Chris Larsen, born in San Francisco and raised in Cupertino, California, first came onto the tech scene in 1997.


Earlier this week, California-based billionaire Chris Larsen, co-founder and former CEO of crypto company Ripple, announced a donation of $1 million to the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).

The funding, which is earmarked to enhance officer wellness and support community engagement initiatives, will be distributed to each of the department’s 10 stations. The stations will receive $100,000 each to spend on equipment or programs that support the outlined goals.

Larsen’s commitment to public safety is not new, as evidenced by his ongoing support for various law enforcement initiatives. Here are five things to know about Larsen and his contributions to public safety:

Who is Chris Larsen?

Larsen, born in San Francisco and raised in Cupertino, California, first came onto the tech scene in 1997 when he co-founded E-LOAN, an online mortgage lender that provided consumers with free access to their credit scores.

Fast-forward to 2012, Larsen co-founded Ripple Labs (originally known as OpenCoin) to facilitate secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks.

Larsen is best known for his philanthropic efforts in the fields of technology, education, social justice, law enforcement and community safety. He has an extensive history of donating millions to local causes and political campaigns.

How did Chris Larsen make his money?

Ripple’s growth and the adoption of its cryptocurrency significantly contributed to Larsen’s net worth – landing him as one of the wealthiest individuals in the cryptocurrency space.

Currently, Larsen has an estimated net worth between $2.5 billion and $6 billion – with most of his wealth coming from his extensive holdings in Ripple and its cryptocurrency.

What will the SFPD use Chris Larsen’s $1 million donation for?

The $1 million donation went through the newly established San Francisco Police Community Foundation (SFPCF). The funds are intended to support community policing efforts, which aim to build stronger relationships between the police and the communities they serve.

The SFPCF will use the donation for various initiatives, including crime prevention programs, officer training and community outreach activities. Other ideas include supporting holiday toy drives, providing ice bath sessions and buying a BBQ pit trailer for community events.

Each of the 10 stations are encouraged to submit an itemized wish list by the end of July, with the flexibility to reserve some funds for future use.

Has Chris Larsen contributed any other notable donations to the SFPD?

In 2012, Larsen began installing a private surveillance camera network in San Francisco to enhance security and combat property crimes such as break-ins and theft. The idea came about after Larsen’s own car windows were smashed and thieves cut the wires to his home security system.

Over the years, he has expanded the network to more than 1,500 high-definition cameras that cover about 135 blocks in the city. The total cost? Nearly $4 million.

The cameras, which are monitored by neighborhood coalitions, are only installed on private properties with the consent of property owners. The footage is recorded continuously, but it’s deleted after 30 days. Although the network is privately funded by Larsen, the SFPD can request access to the footage with property owners’ consent.

There have been recorded successes from the camera installs. In one case, the cameras captured footage that helped locate a kidnapped individual and identify the suspects involved. The surveillance footage allowed the SFPD to track movements and vehicles associated with the crime.

How else has Chris Larsen helped improve public safety in San Francisco?

In addition to the $1 million donation and camera installations, Larsen has contributed to public safety and law enforcement in several other ways, including:

  • Technology upgrades: Larsen is funding internet connections at some SFPD stations to improve their technological infrastructure. Many stations, he said, lacked reliable internet, which hindered the department’s ability to access and utilize necessary tools and resources.
  • Data management and storage system funding: Larsen’s funding has enabled the SFPD to invest in high-capacity, secure storage solutions that protect data from unauthorized access and breaches. The data management systems have been implemented to categorize, index and retrieve data – allowing officers to quickly access relevant footage during investigations. The systems are designed to integrate with other SFPD databases and crime analysis tools.
  • Communication tool upgrades: The upgrades include advanced radio systems, secure communication networks and modernized dispatch systems for SFPD’s stations – leading to faster and more effective actions by officers during emergency responses.
  • Implementation of crime analysis software: The software is designed to help the SFPD analyze crime data to identify trends and patterns. The software can predict potential crime hotspots, enabling the SFPD to allocate resources more efficiently and proactively to prevent crimes before they occur.

Larsen has also funded various community engagement initiatives. These include public safety events, community meetings and outreach programs designed to build trust between law enforcement and local communities.

Through his Avenue Greenlight initiative, Larsen has awarded millions in grants to local merchants’ associations. These grants have funded public safety measures such as the installation of streetlights in high-crime areas, public art projects and events aimed at revitalizing commercial districts.

Additionally, Larsen has supported nonprofits like SF SAFE, which work on crime prevention and community safety projects.

Larsen’s support through the San Francisco Police Foundation highlights the power of investing in our police forces. Beyond San Francisco, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is setting new standards in reality-based training with their state-of-the-art facility, funded by the Las Vegas Police Foundation. This facility is making a national impact, showcasing the effectiveness of community support in enhancing law enforcement.

Learn more about the innovative training in Las Vegas and how their police foundation is building a stronger, safer police force and community by watching the video below.

Sarah Calams, who previously served as associate editor of and, is the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Sarah delves deep into the people and issues that make up the public safety industry to bring insights and lessons learned to first responders everywhere.

Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in news/editorial journalism at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. Have a story idea you’d like to discuss? Send Sarah an email or reach out on LinkedIn.