NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Davis & Rock, venture capitalist
FUNDING AREAS: Education, legal rights, arts and culture, San Francisco community
OVERVIEW: Arthur Rock and his wife Toni Rembe Rock move their philanthropy through the Rock Foundation, which was established in the late 1960s. These days, a little under $2 million moves through the foundation annually, with grantmaking spanning arts and culture, education and human services. The couple founded the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, and the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. The couple is also deep into K-12 education reform.
BACKGROUND: Arthur Rock received his bachelors from Syracuse University, served in the army, and attended Harvard Business School. He had an early career on Wall Street, but moved west to California in 1961 and founded investment firm Davis & Rock with the late Tommy Davis. Rock became a driving force in the emergence of Silicon Valley and was one of America's first venture capitalists. His early investment in Intel in 1968 made him a billionaire, though he's not on the Forbes billionaire list these days. Rock played a key role in launching such companies as Fairchild Semiconductor, Teledyne and Apple.
EDUCATION: The Rocks are major supporters of education, and nonprofit schools in particular. In 2006, a $10 million gift from the couple went to Stanford Law School to create the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University. At that time, Rock said, "Innovation and new ventures fuel the global economy but the spark comes from investment. Investment is about trust. It's about knowing that the people investors entrust with their money are running ethical, transparent and effective businesses. Stanford Law School has a demonstrated track record of leadership in the field of corporate governance. We are pleased to support their efforts."
Last decade, a $25 million gift established the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. The Rock Foundation has funded schools including Syracuse University and University of Washington Law School — which, by the way, is home to the Toni Rembe Dean & Professor of Law. The connection here is that Toni is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. Funds have also gone to Lakeside School in Seattle, from which Toni also graduated.
The couple has also been rather active in the education reform space. They have been top level donors to Teach for America, where Arthur is a lifetime director on the National Board. Arthur is also co-founder and president emeritus of the BASIC Fund (Bay Area Scholarships for Inner-City Children), which provides scholarships to inner-city children in the Bay Area -- the couple continues to support the BASIC Fund through their foundation.
Other support through the couple's foundation has gone to outfits such as Breakthrough Collaborative, which "puts low-income middle school students on the path to college and inspires high school and college students to become educators;" California Charter Schools Association, which received a $250,000 grant in 2013; Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC), which "aids low-income immigrant students in their pursuit of a U.S. college education;" Education Reform Now; Foundation for Educational Choice; and United Way Community Schools Program. ConnCAN, the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, has received heavy attention and was the recipient of $250,000 two years in a row. Money has also gone to SF area youth outfits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area and Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.
In 2015, the couple gave $1 million to KIPP Houston (Knowledge is Power Program), a system of college preparatory, public charter schools in Houston, Texas; $100,000 to the National Council on Teacher Quality in Washington, D.C.; and $500,000 to Students for Education Reform in New York, New York.
LEGAL RIGHTS: Toni Rembe Rock is a retired partner in the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and was one of the first women to be named partner at a major law firm in California. In addition to her philanthropy through the Rock Foundation, she's been president of the van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation since the 1990s. The van Löben Sels/RembeRock Foundation promotes "social justice in Northern California by means of legal services and advocacy." A component of the Rock Foundation's grantmaking also involves these issues and past grants have gone to outfits such as the American Bar Foundation, Anti-Defamation League, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Bay Area Legal Aid, East Bay Community Law Center, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and Legal Services for Children. Support has also gone to human services outfits such as Salvation Army.
ARTS & CULTURE: Rock and Toni's philanthropy also involves arts and culture outfits such as San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Playhouse, American Conservatory Theatre, Museum of the African Diaspora, The Exploratorium, Asian Art Museum Foundation, and Magic Theatre.
SAN FRANCISCO COMMUNITY: Grants have gone to public radio station KQED, as well as to environmental outfits such as San Francisco Parks Alliance. The couple has also bankrolled the UCSF Mission Bay Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Hall.
The Rock Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for contact, but below is an address:
The Rock Foundation
1 Maritime Plz., Ste. 1220
San Francisco, CA 94111