NET WORTH: $5.1 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Poverty, Animals and Environment, Bay Area Community, Conservative Causes
OVERVIEW: George Roberts and his wife Linnea run the Roberts Foundation and a venture philanthropy operation, REDF, which aims to provide employment opportunities for homeless and low-income individuals and families. The couple also supports education, the environment, the San Francisco Bay Area and conservative policy.
BACKGROUND: George Roberts attended Culver Military Academy and graduated from Claremont McKenna College. He earned a law degree from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, and then worked for the financial firm Bear Stearns, making partner at age 29. In 1976, he founded Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, an investment banking and private equity firm, with Jerome Kohlberg, Jr., and Henry Kravis, who is Roberts’s first cousin. Linnea Roberts graduated from Valparaiso University and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She worked in the financial industry for 30 years, becoming a partner at Goldman Sachs. She is the founder and CEO of Gingerbread Capital, which invests “in the next generation of women founders and entrepreneurs leading high-growth businesses.”
EDUCATION: The Roberts Foundation has prioritized George Roberts’s alma maters. George Roberts is a trustee at Claremont McKenna College, which has received more than $50 million over the past decade. Culver Academies and the University of California’s Hastings College of Law have also received support. Linnea Conrad Roberts serves on the Board of Trustees of Teach for America. Other past education grantees include Year Up, KIPP, New Visions for Public Schools and the Sacred Heart Schools of Atherton, California. The couple also supports military schools such as the Oakland Military Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation.
POVERTY: George Roberts founded REDF, the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, in 1997 to “invest in social enterprises that create jobs and reinvest their earnings in skill development, training, and services for their employees.” REDF provides “seed and growth capital and specialized advisory services to over 100 social enterprises in California, which have earned and reinvested in their businesses more than $227 million in revenue and employed 18,000 people." Recently, the enterprise has expanded its work beyond the state of California. The Roberts Foundation has also supported the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
ANIMALS & ENVIRONMENT: Through their foundation, the the couple has supported several organizations involved in animals and conservation. Past grantees include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Del Monte Forest Conservancy, the Eagle Eye Sanctuary Foundation and the Ark Watch Foundation, which aims to "improve the welfare of animals in need within the U.S. and Canada." George Roberts’s first wife, Leanne, was a prominent board member of the San Francisco SPCA, which is home to the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center.
BAY AREA COMMUNITY: The Robertses have supported many cultural institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Past grantees include the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet. Linnea Conrad Roberts is on the board of trustees of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In health, sums have gone to the University of California San Francisco Cancer Center.
CONSERVATIVE POLICY: The Roberts Foundation has given large sums to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
LOOKING FORWARD: In their 70s, George and Linnea Conrad Roberts will likely increase their philanthropic involvement in their areas of interest in the coming years. In the area of poverty, it is possible that REDF will increase its collaboration with other nonprofits.
The Roberts Foundation
2755 Campus Drive, 240
San Mateo, CA 94403