What to Know About the Koret Foundation's Bay Area Grantmaking

The Koret Foundation was seeded with the estates of Joseph and Stephanie Koret, whose Koret of California clothing line was eventually bought by Levi Strauss. The Koret Foundation assets have grown to over $600 million in recent years, and it gave out around $25 million in 2013. Unfortunately for grantseekers, unsolicited proposals aren't accepted.

Koret, like another Bay Area funder Taube Philanthropies, is a strong supporter of Jewish causes. In fact, Tad Taube took over as foundation president at Koret when Joseph Koret died and currently serves as president emeritus. Here are a few must knows about the Koret Foundation:

1. Koret Has Sometimes Collaborated with Taube In Its Philanthropy

There's the Taube-Koret Center for Huntington’s Disease Research (TKC) at the Gladstone Institutes. TKC aims to cure Huntington's Disease by 2020. As well, the Hoover Institution, which recently received a $350,000 grant from Koret in 2013, is also home to the Koret Task Force, which also includes the Taube Family Foundation as a member. The Koret Task Force focuses on "education policy... that stresses choice, accountability, and transparency and includes systematic reform options such as vouchers, charter schools, and testing." Finally, Taube and Koret linked up to create the Koret-Taube Media Suite for the San Francisco Opera, which makes opera accessible to the public at no cost.

2. Its Bay Area Program Is a Top Priority

Over the past few years, Koret's Bay Area Anchor Institutions grantmaking program has received Koret's largest sums, with more than $11 million (out of a total $24.9 million) going to the program in 2013. In 2012, the Bay Area program received around $10 million.

Through this program, the Exploratorium received $3 million toward its capital campaign recently. Outfits such as the Hoover Institution, the University of San Francisco have also received recent grants of over $1 million. The San Francisco Museum of Art, meanwhile, received $2 million in 2012, and Gladstone Institutes received $2 million as well.

Koret also runs a food program, and recent support has gone to Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Food Bank. Finally, K-12 education is definitely an interest. Besides the Koret Task Force, recent support has gone to Citizen Schools for a partnership in the Bay Area with Aspire Public Schools, and to Computers for Youth Foundation, for the Digital Learning Pilot Program at East Palo Alto Charter School. Koret also gives a number of grants under $25,000 through this program to outfits such as the San Francisco Education Fund, and buildOn, which describes itself as "an international nonprofit organization that runs youth service afterschool programs in United States high schools."

3. Jewish Causes Are Strongly Funded

It's impossible to talk about Koret without talking about its commitment to Jewish causes. The organization has given millions to Israel, and homes in on such programming stateside. It's combated antisemitism through grantmaking that recently included a $450,000 grant to UC Berkeley Law for the UC Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society. Koret also has a history of supporting a number of bay area Jewish community centers.

Related - Koret Foundation: Bay Area Grants