Samis Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder primarily gives to Jewish K-12 education in Seattle, but has also supported social services, wildlife preservation, and archaeology.

FUNDING AREAS: Jewish K-12 education in the Seattle area, social services, wildlife preservation, archaeology.

IP TAKE: Jewish day schools and overnight camps are top interests, here. But Samis is showing increasing interest in Seattle neighborhoods. Keep an eye on this for potential opportunities.

PROFILE: The Samis Foundation was established in 1994 to reinvest the profits of Samuel Israel’s real estate business. Their initial goals were to support Jewish education in Seattle, as well as other program areas in Israel. During his lifetime, the founder made many gifts to Jewish and secular causes in Washington State. He appointed 16 trustees to lead the foundation upon his death.

In the Seattle area and throughout Washington, Samis focuses on K-12 Jewish education. It regularly gives to Jewish day schools, scholarships and camping experiences for teenagers. In addition to these Jewish causes, Samis also funds social services organizations, wildlife preservation and archaeology. The foundation has also assisted with disaster relief efforts. Total giving since inception exceeds $76 million toward Seattle’s Jewish community and causes in Israel.

Samis has recently given to seven Seattle area Jewish day schools and three overnight camps. These camps are designed to provide intensive and immersive Jewish education in Seattle.  Samis supports tuition assistance at the local day schools, but administration of those funds is handled by the schools themselves. The funder also provides need-based scholarships to young adults and grants for travel to Israel. For camp experiences, Samis makes grants to Seattle-area children for sports, art, religion, and fun. It works with the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to award scholarships.

Unfortunately for grantseekers, grants are invitation-only; unsolicited requests are not accepted. A new interest area for this funder is Seattle’s Jewish neighborhoods, so this is an emerging funding interest to watch locally.

There are three staffers at the foundation, as well as a board of directors. General questions can be directed to the staff at 206-622-3363 or via online form.

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