NET WORTH: $145 million
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Best-selling author
FUNDING AREAS: Disabilities, Children, Orange County Community
OVERVIEW: Dean Koontz and his wife Gerda do their grantmaking through the Dean and Gerda Koontz Foundation, which was established in 1994. Koontz tends to keep his philanthropy close to home in Orange County, California. The couple has supported charities that deal with people with severe disabilities and critically ill children. One of the main benefactors has been Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities.
BACKGROUND: Dean Koontz was born in Everett, Pennsylvania. He is known for his suspense thrillers and for his frequent incorporation of elements of horror, science fiction, mystery and even satire. Many of his novels are set in and around Orange County, California where he lives. Before Koontz was known as a prolific and enormously successful writer with 450 books to his name including 15 No. 1 books on the New York Times hardcover bestsellers list, he graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and then worked at Appalachian Poverty Program.
DISABILITIES: Koontz has been a steady funder of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a charitable organization that provides service dogs for people with disabilities. Koontz's connection to canines began back in 1989 when he was writing Midnight, a novel about a CCI-trained dog named Moose. The more Koontz learned about CCI, the more he liked it. His foundation gave $2,500,000 to CCI between 1991 and 2004 alone. The couple continues to support CCI via their foundation. It is also worth noting that the Koontzes have a golden retriever named Anna.
CHILDREN: The couple have been steady supporters of the Choc Foundation which supports Children’s Hospital of Orange County. They have also supported Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, and American Heart Association, among others.
ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY: Koontz has been a longtime supporter of St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California. The story here is that Koontz began corresponding with one of the priests at the abbey when he answered a fan letter and sent the priest a box of autographed books. Later, a mutual friend suggested that Koontz meet him, and the rest is history. The couple has also supported the Newport Beach 1st Marines Foundation, and the California Narcotic Officers Association. Other grantees include the American Chesterton Society, which promotes interest in G.K Chesterton, a prolific early 20th century writer in his own day who wrote over one hundred books and published over five thousand essays.
LOOKING FORWARD: Koontz's philanthropy has stuck close to home to a select few organizations, and there is no evidence of this changing. One thing to look for down the line is Koontz's own writing collection possibly making its way to libraries, and/or universities.
Dean & Gerda Koontz Foundation
P.O. Box 9529
Newport Beach, CA 92658