Karp Family Foundation: Boston Grants

OVERVIEW: The Karp Family Foundation is the charitable vehicle of shopping center magnate Stephen Karp and his wife, Jill. The couple's philanthropy focuses on the Boston area, extending to Nantucket. The Karps are steady funders of health causes in Boston, particularly local hospitals. Another interest is education. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health, Education, Youth & Human Services, Arts & Culture, Jewish Causes

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

PROFILE: Stephen R. Karp graduated from Boston University. He 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.

In a past year, the foundation reported $1,057,819 in assets.

One of the Karp family's interests in Boston is health. The couple has supported Boston area health outfits like 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 it's worth noting that 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 has also supported the Steppingstone Foundation, which "develops and implements programs that prepare underserved schoolchildren for educational opportunities."

The couple's grantmaking involves Boston youth and human services outfits, too. Grantees have included Boston Youth Sanctuary, which has received especially strong support; Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which "offers a comprehensive range of services for youth ages 14 to 24 in a positive and safe environment"; Greater Boston Food Bank; and United Way.

The Karps also support local Boston area Jewish outfits like Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Facing History and Ourselves, Jewish Vocational Service, and Hebrew Senior Life. The family also supports arts and culture in the Boston area. Grantees have included Boston Symphony Orhcestra, Huntington Theatre Company, and Museum of African American History.


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The Karp Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for getting in touch with the Karps, but below is an address:

Karp Family Foundation
1 Wells Ave.
Newton, MA 02459