Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of William Oberndorf and his wife Susan. A large share of their funding has been directed at the California Bay Area, but they have given nationwide to charter schools and education reform advocacy groups.

IP TAKE: The Oberndorf Foundation supports charter schools and he broader education reform movement, prioritizing initiatives with the potential for large, systemic impact. This foundation does not maintain a website and does not accept unsolicited proposals.

PROFILE: The Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation was established by Bill Oberndorf, a successful investor and the founder of SPO Partners, and his wife, Susan. This foundation invests in charter schools and the broader education reform movement in the United States. In addition to education, this foundation supports organizations that work in the areas of  domestic policy research and advocacy, medical research, museums, international policy work, environmental protection, social welfare and post-secondary education.

While this foundation does not state specific initiatives for its investment in education, Bill Oberndorf told Philanthropy Roundtable that “unless a truly competitive alternative was established to traditional public schools, the educational establishment [would be] simply incapable of systemic and sustainable reform from within." Accordingly, the foundation's grantees include the Foundation for Excellence in Education, an organization that supports education reform on the state level, and the American Federation for Children, which supports school vouchers, education savings plans and other measures that support broad systemic change. The foundation's charter school grantees include KIPP and Gateway Public Schools, a charter network serving the San Francisco Bay area.

Oberndorf grants range in size from a few thousand dollars to over $1 million. This foundation does not maintain a website and does not accept unsolicited inquiries or proposals.


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Bill and Susan Oberndorf Foundation
615 Front Street
San Francisco, CA 94111