The Roberts Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of billionaire George Roberts and his wife Linnea. Roberts and his wife are based in the Bay Area where Roberts serves as co-CEO of a firm he founded called Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). Linnea, meanwhile, works as an Advisory Director in investment banking for Goldman Sachs.
In recent years, the Roberts Foundation has held around $70 million in assets and has given away more than $15 million annually, with the Bay Area being a high-priority funding area. This funder doesn't have a website or any clear way for grantseekers to get in touch, so it will be a tough nut to crack. That said, here are a few must-knows:
1. Fighting Poverty in the Bay Area is A High Priority
In recent years, outfits such as SF Food Bank, and the Tipping Point Community have been funded by the Roberts Foundation. But the main way the couple fights poverty in the region is through REDF, which seeks to fight poverty in the Bay Area and beyond by "connecting people to jobs," and tapping into social enterprises. In recent years, REDF has partnered with the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), with headquarters in Oakland, San Diego, and San Bernardino to help formerly incarcerated men and women. REDF has also worked with the Community Housing Partership in San Francisco, and Goodwill of Silicon Valley.
It's worth noting that prior to founding REDF, Roberts also created the Homeless Economic Development Fund, which supported employment-related nonprofits during the early and mid-1990s. As for REDF, its website claims that it has "supported 50 social enterprises that employ 9,000 people, generating more than $140 million in revenues."
2. Supporting the Environment and Animal Rights Appears to Be a Longtime Interest
Roberts' first wife, Leanne, was a prominent board member of the San Francisco SPCA and the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center at the SPCA is named after her. These days, Robert and Leanne's son, Eric, sits on the board of the San Francisco SPCA. While it's unclear if the Roberts Foundation has pumped money into the SF SPCA in recent years, sums have gone to the Ark Watch Foundation, whose mission is to "improve the welfare of animals in need within the U.S. and Canada." Another $700,000 also recently went to Del Monte Forest Conservancy in Pebble Beach "which conserves, acquires and enhances lands dedicated to open space within Del Monte Forest."
3. Roberts' Education Philanthropy is Centered on His Alma Maters
Roberts attended UC Hastings College of Law, which has received modest sums in recent years. This pales in comparison to the millions he's pumped into his undergraduate alma mater Claremont McKenna College, a liberal arts college a couple hundred miles to the south in Los Angeles Country. Still, in recent years, military academies in the Bay Area such as the Oakland Military Institute have received support. This may be because Roberts attended a military academy himself in Indiana.
Roberts and his wife have also modestly supported KIPP Bay Area Schools, and Sacred Heart Schools Atherton. K-12 Education reform might become more of priority for the funder, however, because Linnea sits on the board at Teach for America.
4. The Couple Has Also Supported Arts and Culture
Roberts and Linnea have supported outfits such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, and the SF Ballet. SF Ballet received $5 million alone in 2012. Linnea sits on the board at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In health, recent sums have gone to the UCSF Cancer Center, which received at least $1 million in 2013.