Kenneth Rainin Foundation: Grants for the Bay Area

OVERVIEW: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation focuses on education for very young children in Oakland and supporting small to mid-sized arts organizations throughout the Bay Area. It also supports work on inflammatory bowel disease. 

FUNDING AREAS: Reading and student literacy, dance, theater, film, medical research, inflammatory bowel disease

IP TAKE: Rainin's giving is growing, along with its assets, and it has been building a larger and more professional grantmaking operation.  

PROFILE: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a Bay Area foundation focused on enhancing life in the region. Over the past few years, Rainin has been ramping up assets, grantmaking, and staff. Kenneth Rainin was an entrepreneur who made his fortune founding scientific and medical product companies. At the age of twenty-five, he founded Rainin Instrument Company, which distributed laboratory instruments and later sold a line of laboratory pipettes used for liquid sample testing. After moving his business to the Bay Area, Rainin’s pipette brand became the leading brand of pipettes used in modern laboratories and recognized as a standard around the world. Aside from pipettes, he dabbled business ventures related to food manufacturing, wine production, and the gaming/hospitality industries. In 2007, he suffered from heart failure and passed away at the age of 68. Current foundation grantmaking is focused on education, art, and health.

During his lifetime, Rainin channeled his wealth toward charitable, civic, and cultural activities, including the San Francisco Ballet and medical research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Before his death, he gave over $8 million to fund the Kenneth Rainin Foundation for Crohn’s disease, colitis, and intestinal disorder research at USCF and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Today, the foundation makes grants in three priority areas: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), improving reading and literacy for very young underserved children, and small to mid-sized dance, theater, and film organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Foundation grants tend to be between $50,000 and $200,000, although some grants are larger than this. View lists of past grants on the arts, education, and health sections of the funder’s website. This foundation is focused on the Bay Area and specifically on the city of Oakland, California.

The Rainin Foundation accepts unsolicited grant requests for some programs, while others are by invitation only. Review the funder’s website for the most current information about open grant opportunities. Keep up with recent grant news on the foundation news and blog section. Direct general questions to the staff at or 510-625-5207.


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