Mark Percy, Vice President, Strategic Relations for KNET

For the past decade Mark has served as a philanthropic advisor to individuals and families making significant investments to positively impact education, health care, and other areas of common purpose.

Mark is the Vice President, Strategic Relations for KNET, a consortium enterprise that serves as the family office for the Kay family in Orange County, CA., and is a Board member of the Marvin Buzz Oates Charitable Foundation in Sacramento. He is the (California) Regional Philanthropy Advisor for Excellence in Giving (, one of the leading full-service philanthropic advisory firms in the U.S.

Mark chairs the Workforce Development Committee of the OC STEM Initiative, a coalition of leading foundations spearheading STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) literacy in OC. He is the Chairman and one of the co-founders of OC Advisors in Philanthropy ( as well.

Mark received his BA from Stanford University, MBA from Yale University, and is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®).

What excites you most about STEM Education?

Most exciting is the growing recognition I see among parents and students that STEM skills drive job prospects in today’s economy. When a movie like The Martian – which was essentially an infomercial for STEM skills – grosses over $650 million worldwide it is an indicator something has changed.

What are your hopes for the future of STEM Education?

That a STEM workforce will embrace a lifetime of education (formal and informal, degrees and certifications). In Orange County, we will hopefully move beyond the concept of a STEM career pipeline and pathway to an “interstate,” with multiple on and off ramps. It will include vocational training and preparation for middle skilled jobs, not just post-secondary degrees. This broader definition is more accurate and expands the number of STEM positions in OC to 21.2% of all jobs – the fifth highest regional STEM jobs percentage in the nation. Soon there will be few job categories that do not require any STEM capability, but by then we collectively will have built a STEM learning ecosystem that will allow any citizen to thrive and prosper.

What are your current and/or past experiences with STEM Education – are there  any highlights you would want people to know about the work the Kay Family Foundation is doing at this time?

One of the Kay Family Foundation’s core values is that everyone has a God-given purpose in life, leading to personal growth and reaching their full potential. STEM education unlocked a world of possibilities for our founder, Steeve Kay, as he immigrated to Silicon Valley from China/Myanmar (formerly Burma) at the height of the IT revolution in this country. His gratitude for the opportunity the United States gave him drives KFF’s approach to assisting others to acquire a high-quality education.

Thank you Mark for letting us pick your brain on STEM!

Check out the Kay Family Foundation’s website here to read more about their mission and vision.