Thornton Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Thornton Foundation primarily funds grantmaking related to arts and cultural institutions, as well as education and youth. 

IP TAKE: The foundation keeps a low public profile, which limits information available on its grantmaking priorities and activities. The foundation is recently-minted, and its priority areas may still be emerging. 

PROFILE: The Thornton Foundation was established in 2003. Its was founded by San Marino, California couple Charles B. Thornton and his wife Geneva. Charles is the son of Charles "Tex" Thornton, devised modern management systems and one of the founders of Litton Industries, the sprawling conglomerate. The foundation lacks transparency and does not maintain a website, which makes it difficult to locate further information on its priority areas and grantmaking strategies. Tax filings suggest the Thornton Foundation primarily funds grantmaking related to arts and cultural institutions, as well as education and youth. 

Charles and Geneva Thornton are the owners of Thornton Gardens, known originally as the Katherine Sinclair Emery Estate, and will will bequeath their property and a sizeable endowment fund to The Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens when they die. The couple have already given millions to the institution. 

Grants range from $1,000 to around $1.5 million. In a recent fiscal year, the foundation gave away around $2.3 million. Past grantees include USC Thornton School of Music (the school bears the name of Charles' mother Flora); CalTech; Pomona College Alumni Fund; Los Angeles Music Center; Pasadena Garden Club; and Pasadena Children’s Hospital. 

The Thornton Foundation keeps a low profile and does not accept unsolicited proposals. 

PEOPLE:

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CONTACT:

Thornton Foundation
1220 Virginia Road
San Marino, CA 91108