Rock Foundation: Bay Area Grants

OVERVIEW: The Rock Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of venture capitalist Arthur Rock and his wife Toni. Grantmaking involves education reform, legal rights, arts and culture, and more. 

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Legal Rights, Human Services, Arts & Culture, Health, Environment

IP TAKE: The Rock Foundation flies well under the radar, without a notable web presence or a clear way to get in touch with the couple.

PROFILE: Venture capitalist Arthur Rock and his wife, longtime attorney Toni Rembe Rock, have been in the Bay Area for decades, where they've been active in civic and philanthropic life. Their Rock Foundation was established in the late 1960s. In a recent tax year, the foundation held some $43 million in assets and gave slightly under $2 million. Unfortunately, the Rock Foundation doesn't have much of a web presence, or clear guidelines for grantseekers. The Rock Foundation's grantmaking involves quite a few Bay Area outfits.

One area of interest in the Bay Area is education. Last decade, the couple gave a $10 million gift to Stanford Law School to create the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. The couple has also bankrolled the UCSF Mission Bay Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Hall and has supported Golden Gate University. 

Rock and Toni have also been active in the education reform space. The couple supports Teach for America, and Rock is a cofounder and president emeritus of the BASIC fund, which provides scholarships to inner-city children in the Bay Area. It's worth noting that these scholarships go toward the cost of tuition at private schools. In a recent year, the BASIC Fund is providing nearly 4,000 scholarships to children in 300 schools around the Bay Area. 

The foundation has recently supported outfits such as Breakthrough Collaborative, which "puts low-income middle school students on the path to college and inspires high school and college students to become educators," California Charter Schools Association (which received a large $250,000 grant in a recent year), Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), which "aids low-income immigrant students in their pursuit of a U.S. college education," and United Way Community Schools Program, which aims to "transform public schools into neighborhood hubs where health care, food pantries, after-school programs, family engagement and parent education classes are available directly on school campuses." United Way's education goal is to partner with schools and districts in low-income communities across the Bay Area to transform 200 schools into community hubs by 2020. Money has also gone to youth outfits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area and Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.

Money has also gone to Bay Area outfits that work for legal rights. The personal motivations are strong, here, as Toni was one of the first women to be named partner at a major law firm in California. She's also been president of the van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation since the 1990s, an outfit that concerns itself with promoting "social justice in Northern California by means of legal services and advocacy." A component of the Rock Foundation's grantmaking involves these issues, and recent grants have gone to outfits such as American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Bay Area Legal Aid, East Bay Community Law Center, Asian Law Caucus, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Legal Aid Society.

Rock and Toni's philanthropy also involves arts and culture outfits such as SF Ballet, SF Playhouse, American Conservatory Theatre, Museum of the African Diaspora, The Exploratorium, Asian Art Museum Foundation, and Magic Theatre, where Toni sits on the board. Grants have gone to public radio station KQED, as well as to environmental outfits such as SF Parks Alliance.


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The Rock Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the couple but below is an address 

The Rock Foundation

1 Maritime Plz., Ste. 1220

San Francisco, CA 94111