Five Questions About the Ayrshire Foundation, Answered

Pasadena City College has been among the grantees of the Ayrshire Foundation. photo: Angel DiBilio/shutterstock

Pasadena City College has been among the grantees of the Ayrshire Foundation. photo: Angel DiBilio/shutterstock

As the Ayrshire Foundation marks two decades of philanthropy, we take a quick look at its core mission and recent grantmaking. 

What Are its Origin and Background?

The Ayrshire Foundation was founded in 1998 by James N. Gamble, the great-grandson of the founder of the consumer goods corporation Procter & Gamble, with his second wife, his two daughters, and their husbands. They launched this undertaking to continue and broaden the scope of their family’s philanthropy. The name “Ayrshire” refers to the Gamble family’s origins in Ayrshire, Scotland.

In July 2015, the foundation split: Directors Tracy and Richard Hirrel in southern California retained the Ayrshire Foundation name, while a new group launched in northern California called the Caldera Foundation, led by Terry and Peter Boyer.

Where Does it Fund?

The Ayrshire Foundation focuses on grantmaking in the Los Angeles area and northern Michigan. In keeping with the family-based culture of the organization, these are both areas where the Gamble clan has personal ties, including a family home built on the shores of Lake Michigan in 1890. Minimal support exists beyond these locations and when it does, it is often linked back to these areas.

Meanwhile, the Caldera Foundation focuses its work in northern California and also takes a more global approach than Ayrshire.

What Does it Fund?

According to its site, the Ayrshire Foundation concentrates its funding in five areas: opportunities for youth, science, and the environment; health care, services for the elderly and disabled, and community culture. It likes projects that synergize these areas.

Past grantees include Huntington Memorial Hospital, Jericho Road Pasadena, Pasadena Education Foundation, and Pasadena City College.

“Gamble believed that the purpose of wealth, beyond caring for one’s family, was to create opportunities and improve the lives of others,” the foundation site states, referencing its founder who died in 2004.

The Caldera Foundation now focuses on the environment and related topics like renewable energy and scientific research.

How Does it Fund?

This funder usually provides program support rather than general operating support. As its site states:

Success of a particular grant is linked to its desired effect, whether it be to seed a new organization and attract additional funding, to provide a vehicle for disseminating information, or to support a viable organization whose mission and model are replicable.

The Ayrshire Foundation typically distributes about $1 million annually in gifts ranging from several thousand—usually not less than $5,000—up to $1 million. The Ayrshire foundation accepts unsolicited requests for funding and asks applicants to complete an online form. If the foundation is interested, it will then invite them to submit a full proposal. This foundation meets twice each year to review grant applications, in the spring and fall. Proposals are due March 15 and Sept. 15, respectively. Grants are offered for one or more years. The Ayrshire Foundation does, at times, partner with other funders and provide matching grant incentives.

What Are Some of its Major Recent Investments?

In 2016 to 2017, the Ayrshire Foundation made two notable million-dollar investments, into Hollenbeck Palms, a retirement community to which it has previously donated, and Hillsides, which provides a variety of services to at-risk children and their families.

Ayrshire’s support is helping Hollenbeck Palms rebuild its Skilled Nursing Facility and erect its new Memory Enhancement Center. Hollenbeck Palms President and CEO William G. Heideman said:

The Ayrshire Foundation shares our passion of caring for the elderly… When the time came to realize our plans of rebuilding Hollenbeck’s Skilled Nursing Facility, the Ayrshire Foundation was the first to step up to meet the challenge with an extremely generous pledge. Their strong commitment played an important role in our ability to secure additional funding.

Ayrshire's million-dollar donation to Hillsides supports a $12 million major renovation project of its main campus “to improve client outcomes, facilitate more intensive treatment methods, promote healthy permanent families, and increase campus safety.”

Campus improvements include a swimming pool, basketball courts, walking paths, art and music studios, and a gymnasium.

“We have spent the last four years intensely planning these exciting improvements to our aging facilities, and we are thrilled to take the first steps toward a modernized, more comprehensive campus,” Hillsides CEO Joseph M. Costa said.

Find more information on past Ayrshire grantees and further application guidelines on its website.