Karp Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Karp Family Foundation is the charitable vehicle of shopping center magnate Stephen Karp and his wife, Jill. The Karps support health, education, youth, human services, arts and culture, and Jewish causes in the Boston area. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health, education, youth, human services, arts and culture, Jewish causes

IP TAKE: The foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals and keeps a low profile. Networking is key for getting on the radar of this funder. 

PROFILE: Established in 1994, the Karp Family Foundation is the philanthropic vehicle of Stephen R. Karp. Karp graduated from Boston University and first entered the shopping center business in the late 1960s with the development of one of the first enclosed malls in the Northeast. He went on to found New England Development in Boston. Karp and his wife, Jill, have put some of their wealth towards philanthropy and move their charitable donations through the Karp Family Foundation, which has given under $2 million annually of late. Grantmaking interests include health, education, youth, human services, arts and culture, and Jewish causes.

One of the Karp family's major interests in Boston is health. The couple has supported Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, and Newton Wellesley Hospital. Hospitals and medical centers are strongly featured in this couple's health philanthropy, and Karp's board memberships include serving as chairman of the board of trustees of Boston Children's Hospital. The Karps also support Boston schools. Karp has supported his alma mater Boston University. Other grantees have included Beacon Academy, Belmont High School, Berkshire Hills Music Academy, Elizabeth Seton Academy, and Lesley University. The couple's grantmaking involves Boston youth and human services organizations. Grantees have included Boston Youth Sanctuary and Bridge Over Troubled Waters. The Karps also support local Boston area Jewish organizations, including Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Facing History and Ourselves, Jewish Vocational Service, and Hebrew Senior Life.

Foundation grants tend to be between $500 and $5,000. Review the funder’s recent tax records to learn more about its local giving. The foundation’s giving is largely focused on the Boston area, as well as Framingham, South Hadley, and other Massachusetts communities. The foundation does not publicly share its grantmaking guidelines.

This foundation does not accept unsolicited grant applications from nonprofits, as it only funds pre-selected organizations. The phone number to reach the foundation staff is 617-965-8700.

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