The Caw Foundation

The California Caw Foundation was established by

John Dunham following the sale of the company he cofounded, Caw Networks. He named the company in honor of his dear friend, the late Dr. Bruce Nelson, who was famous for, among other things, making crow sounds. The CA Caw Foundation carries on that commemoration.

© 2024 The Caw Foundation

What’s in a Name?

Caw Networks was originally—and now The Caw Foundation is—named in memory of Bruce Nelson, who died unexpectedly in September, 1999. Bruce's life and sudden death had a tremendous impact on the founders of Caw Networks, and on the many people whose lives he touched. To them, Bruce was a mentor, a great teacher, a kind and compassionate friend, a brilliant scientist, and is described by many, simply, as "a hero." He was entirely unconventional, unique, eclectic, and daring; a true free spirit. Someone who lived life to its fullest and always marched to the beat of his own drum.

Bruce was outrageous. Friends from college remember him slipping past the locked doors and barricades of the Harvey Mudd library, still under construction, and riding his bicycle around the edge of the roof, five floors up. Once, during lunch, with a fork in his teeth, he chased a mouse up a set of curtains two stories high, hoping to have mouse for dessert. He won the costume contest at the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Varsity Theatre in Palo Alto. He called himself King of the Ethernet as he carried a scepter while wearing a tutu and Ethernet cable to department meetings. He had an incredible passion for hiking and inspired in many an appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors and a love of nature. At the end of a long hike, he would sometimes run ahead of his companions and have a picnic waiting for them complete with white tablecloth and a great bottle of wine. Bruce also loved free diving.

Bruce was a brilliant technologist and a great leader. At the time of his death, Bruce was the Chief Science Officer at Cisco Systems. In 1995, he was awarded the Association of Computing Machines Software Systems Award to honor his achievement in establishing Remote Procedure Call (RPC). He had described RPC several years earlier in his Ph.D. thesis at Carnegie Mellon University. For those who knew him on a professional level, not only was he a brilliant technologist, but he had a great ability to connect with an audience, to represent a customer, to never compromise his individuality, to reach beyond the ordinary, and to have fun in the process. Bruce is missed tremendously, but is alive and well in the hearts and souls of many. The crow was Bruce's symbol. He marked summits in snowfields by stomping out crow footprints. He would "Caw!" everywhere - on mountaintops, in restaurants, at meetings. By naming the Caw Foundation after his passion for crows, we hope to honor his spirit and perpetuate the ideals in which he believed.

© 2024 The Caw Foundation


The CA Caw Foundation

95 Vicente Road

Berkeley, CA 94705​ USA

EIN: 84-3155094​​

A registered 501(c)(3) charity,

The CA Caw Foundation is fiscal sponsor for

the Gary Atkinson Imagine Scholarship Fund

and supports other selected environmental, educational and community programs.

© 2024 The Caw Foundation