Koret Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: Founded in 1979, the Koret Foundation engages in grantmaking in areas such as education, arts and culture, and Jewish causes. Most of its funding stays in the Bay Area. 

FUNDING AREAS: Jewish causes, Bay Area community, education, antipoverty

IP TAKE: Though a huge funder of Jewish causes, some of its largest sums from the Koet Foundation in recent years have gone toward its Bay Area Anchor Institutions Program, which focuses on culture, civic organizations and education. Koret considers grant requests by invitation only.

PROFILE: The Koret Foundation was seeded with the estates of Joseph and Stephanie Koret, whose Koret of California sportswear line was a leader in women's fashion. The Koret Foundation has grown to have assets of over $600 million in recent years, and has given out around $25 million per year. Since its founding in 1979, Koret has invested around $500 million to contribute to a higher quality of civic and Jewish community life.

Koet supports organizations that promote "a vibrant and distinctive Bay Area." Koret focuses its giving in two major areas: "strengthening the Jewish community in the Bay Area, Israel and Poland, and supporting Bay Area anchor institutions." Over the past few years, its Bay Area Anchor Institutions program has received Koret's largest sums. 

Through this program, the Exploratorium received $3 million toward its capital campaign. Outfits such as the Hoover Institution and the University of San Francisco have also received grants of over $1 million. When talking about Koret's grantmaking, it's imporant to mention its president emeritus, Tad Taube, a longtime friend and business partner of Joseph Koret. Taube has been involved with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, his alma mater, for years.

More modest sums have gone to the California Historical Society, the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museum, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, and the Oakland Museum of California. Another program that supports Bay Area outfits at Koret is its Koret Food Program, which has recently given to outfits such as Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Food Bank.

In K-12 education, the foundation gave a $350,000 grant to the Hoover Institution for research on blending learning. The Hoover Institution is also home to the Koret Task Force, which focuses on "education policy... that stresses choice, accountability, and transparency and includes systematic reform options such as vouchers, charter schools, and testing." Tad Taube's Taube Family Foundation is also involved with the Koret Task Force.

Past support has also gone to Citizen Schools for a partnership in the Bay Area with Aspire Public Schools. Citizen Schools received $100,000 from Koret. Besides these larger grants, 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."

For the most up-to-date list of grantees, check out the Koret grants page.

Koret helped create the Taube-Koret Center for Huntington’s Disease Research (TKC), at Gladstone Institutes, a biomedical research organization whose focus is to better understand, prevent, treat and cure cardiovascular, viral and neurological conditions. TKC aims to cure Huntington's Disase by 2020. Another Koret-Taube collaboration is the Koret-Taube Media Suite for the San Francisco Opera, which makes opera accessible to the public at no cost.

It's impossible to talk about Koret without talking about its commitment to Jewish causes. The organization has given millions to Israel, and has homed in on programming stateside. They've combatted antisemitism through grantmaking that 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. 

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