William K. Bowes, Jr.

NET WORTH: Unknown

SOURCE OF WEALTH:  Founding Partner, U.S. Venture Partners

FUNDING AREAS: Higher Education, Health & Science Research, San Francisco Bay Area Community, Youth

OVERVIEW: William K. Bowes, Jr. moves his philanthropy through the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, which held more than $350 million in assets, and gave away close to $40 million in recent years. Bowes' philanthropy focuses on higher education, where his alma maters Stanford and Harvard, as well as UC Berkeley and Caltech, have received millions. He strongly supports medical and science research, particularly cancer research. He's given large sums to the arts and culture field in the San Fransisco area, as well as environmental causes and policy shops.

BACKGROUND: Bowes was born in San Francisco in the 1920s and graduated from Lowell High School. He received his B.A. in economics from Stanford University and his MBA from Harvard. His father was a businessman and his mother was a physician and one of the first women to graduate from the Stanford School of Medicine. Bowes has been a venture capitalist in the Bay Area for about 50 years. He was the founding shareholder and first chairman of Amgen. Bowes is founding partner of U.S. Venture Partners, which, since its establishment in 1981, has invested over $2.7 billion in more than 450 companies, primarily in technology and healthcare. 


HIGHER EDUCATION: Bowes' alma mater Stanford received at least $1.56 million in recent years, with similar annual sums between 2008 and 2010. Bowes has bankrolled the Bio-X Graduate Fellowship Program, which offers Stanford Ph.D. candidates funding to pursue interdisciplinary research and to work with multiple mentors. Bowes also supports Harvard, Harvard Stem Cell Institute being the site of the Bowes Acceleration Fund. Bowes also donated to Harvard Business School and Harvard Art Museum.

He gave millions to UCSF, where he sits on the board of overseers of the UCSF Foundation. California Institute of Technology received $5 million to endow a leadership chair to "support innovative research projects with potential for scientific and societal impact." Many universities such as UC Berkeley, University of Colorado, UC Santa Barbara, and University of Michigan received money from Bowes. It's worth noting that a common denominator here is science and medical research, even at UC Berkeley, which is the site of the Bowes Research Fellows Program.

HEALTH & SCIENCE RESEARCH: Bowes has a major interest in cancer research. He gave the Canary Foundation, "a nonprofit dedicated to the goal of identifying cancer early through a simple blood test and then isolating it with imaging," at least $7.5 million alone. Bowes gave money to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Apart from cancer research, Bowes has backed the Sandler Foundation and its asthma programming, including at least $1.5 million for these efforts. At least $1.7 million went to Gladstone Institutes, a bay area outfit that "devises multi-pronged solutions for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and other disorders of the nervous system." He gave money to Peer Health Exchange, and Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, whose mission is to accelerate "transfer of high-impact research in clinical processes and systems technology into widespread adoption so that patients and physicians can benefit from the research as soon as possible." 

Seattle's Institute for Systems Biology has regularly received grants of more than $1 million.

Bowes supports science research institutes such as B612 Foundation, a "nonprofit dedicated to planetary defense against asteroids and other near-Earth object impacts," and the Institute for Systems Biology.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA COMMUNITY: Bowes gave a steady stream of money to outfits such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Jazz Organization, San Francisco Boys Chorus, the Exploratorium (where he once served as chairman of the board), and Grace Cathedral, among others.

EDUCATION & YOUTH: Another interest of Bowes is education through his support of Teach for America, Teach for All, KIPP Bay Area Schools, (to which he gave $1 million), College Spring, Real Options for City Kids, among others. Bowes is a supporter of youth entrepreneurship and science opportunities, having funded outfits such as the Bizworld Foundation, which helps "teach elementary and middle school children across the U.S. and in 100 countries around the world how to run a business through entrepreneurship programs," and the We Teach Science Foundation.

OTHER: Bowes supports the Environmental Defense Fund, where he sits on the board. The outfit received at least $3 million alone in recent years between its New York and San Francisco locations. Bowes also supports the International Rescue Committee and the Tides Foundation, which provides "donor-advised grants to nonprofits working toward social change in the U.S. and abroad." He gave sums to policy shops such as the Cato Institute, the Commonwealth Club, and the Independent Institute.


The William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation
1660 Bush Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94109