Karsh Family Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Karsh Family Foundation prioritizes education from preschool to graduate school. The most frequent Los Angeles grantees include public schools, top-notch universities, and after-school programs for underprivileged youth.

FUNDING AREAS: Education at all levels, human services, Jewish causes

IP TAKE: The Karsh Family Foundation does not accept proposals and contributes only to pre-selected organizations. It prioritizes well-established education organizations in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this is not a transparent funder as it does not maintain a public presence or website.

PROFILE: Martha and Bruce Karsh established the Karsh Family Foundation in 1997 in Beverly Hills, California. Both graduates of Virginia Law School, Bruce boosted his net worth to over $1.9 billion after success in the investment and real estate industry. Bruce and four of his colleagues started Oaktree Capital Management in 1995, and he settled into a firm and portfolio manager role. Bruce also served as director of Armstrong Wood Products, LBI media, and Charter Communications. Meanwhile, Martha practiced law, raised three children, and became involved in the design and construction nonprofit sector. According to tax filings, Karsh prioritizes education, but also supports human services, Jewish agencies, and synagogues.

The foundation appreciates building long-term relationships with local organizations which which it can work for many years. For example, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) LA Schools, a regional network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools operating in east and south Los Angeles, has received more than $1 million of Karsh funds each year for multiple years. KIPP has been able to fund college-prep programs for elementary and middle school students with these steady general operating support grants. The foundation also been a steady supporter of Inner-City Education Foundation (ICEF) Public Schools, providing yearly operating support for the organization.

Karsh grants range from $1,000 to $1 million. While the foundation does not geographically restrict its grantmaking, it prioritizes Los Angeles organizations. Well-established organizations typically see the most support from this funder. Past grantees include Homeboy Industries, the California Charter Schools Association, LA’s Promise, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The Karsh Family Foundation does not maintain a website or full-time staff members. One way to get in touch with Martha is through her current business, Clark & Karsh, at email@clark-karsh.com. The foundation’s phone number is 213-830-6402.

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