NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Founder of Half.com, co-founder of First Round Capital
FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Health, Jewish causes.
OVERVIEW: Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman and his wife Rena move their philanthropy through the Kopelman Foundation, which was established in 2001. The couple are particularly interested in "projects that have not attracted a lot of attention and therefore have previously received limited financial support." They have a strong interest in education and youth, with a component of this philanthropy involving support for youth entrepreneurship. Other sums have gone to assorted health causes and to Jewish causes. A lot of grantmaking involves the Philadelphia area where the couple lives. In 2014, close to $234,000 went out the door.
BACKGROUND: Josh Kopelman attended Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1992, while a student, he co-founded Infonautics Corporation. In 1999, he founded Half.com, an online marketplace for used books, movies and music that was eventually acquired by eBay for $350 million. Kopelman also co-founded First Round Capital in 2004, and has invested in companies such as Linkedin and Uber. Kopelman lives in Philadelphia.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: The foundation supports outfits such as GreenLight Fund, which "transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process," Springboard Collaborative, which " closes the reading achievement gap by coaching teachers, training family members, and incentivizing learning so that our scholars have the requisite skills to access life opportunities," and YCS Foundation. YCS (Youth Consultation Service) partners with "at-risk and special needs children, youth and young adults to build happier, healthier, more hopeful lives within families and communities." The foundation also awarded grants to Master Charter High School, Steppingstone Foundation, which "develops and implements programs that prepare underserved students for educational opportunities that lead to college success, and Trustees of University of Pennsylvania. Both Kopelman and Rena are Penn graduates.
A component of this philanthropy involves supporting youth in entrepreneurship and technology. Funds have gone to TechGirlz, "a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations," and Schoolyard Ventures, "an innovative program that helps teens launch real businesses, non-profits and other projects meaningful to them."
HEALTH: Kopelman and Rena have recently supported health outfits such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Lankenau Medical Center Foundation, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and the Familial Dysautonomia Foundation. Familial Dysautonomia is a rare genetic neurological disorder that effects the sensory and autonomic nervous systems, causing life-threatening medical complications from birth. So far, the Kopelmans have focused in on conditions and diseases that have affected those close to them.
JEWISH CAUSES: Recent grantmaking has involved outfits such as Jewish Relief Agency, Aish HaTorah Philadelphia, Jewish Family and Children's Service of Greater Philadelphia, and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El.
LOOKING FORWARD: Kopelman is only in his mid-40s and so his giving may ramp up down the line. It's worth mentioning that Kopelman's wife Rena has been involved in entrepreneurship efforts for women and so this may be something to look for in the couple's emerging philanthropy, too.
The foundation insists that all submissions be made by email. Proposals should provide a one-page program synopsis.
The Kopelman Foundation
4040 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104