Rupert and Maryellie Johnson

NET WORTH: $4.4 billion

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Franklin Templeton Investments

FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Arts & Culture, Health, Policy

OVERVIEW: Rupert Johnson and family move philanthropy through the Rupert H. Johnson Jr. Foundation, which gave approximately $3.3 million in a recent year. Johnson strongly supports his alma mater, Washington and Lee University. He and his wife Maryellie have strongly supported her school, Harvard. Other interests include the arts.

BACKGROUND: Rupert H. Johnson Jr. graduated from Washington and Lee University. His father, Rupert Sr., founded Franklin Distributors in 1947; the younger Johnson joined in 1965. Johnson is the vice chairman of Franklin Resources, a global investment management firm also called Franklin Templeton Investments.


EDUCATION & YOUTH: In 2007, Johnson pledged $100 million to his alma mater, Washington and Lee University, $85 million of which has been designated for scholarships. Maryellie graduated from Radcliffe and the couple established a $12.5 million fund to enhance the creative arts at Harvard. Maryellie has a strong interest in the arts and is a local artist. Rupert is a trustee emeritus of Santa Clara University, home to the Johnson Scholars Program, which “prepares graduates to make meaningful contributions toward a more just, humane, and sustainable world.” Maryellie is on the advisory council of Stanford Arts Initiative.

Other grantees have included UC Davis, Hillsborough Schools Foundation, Lawrenceville School, Bronxville Schools Foundation, Norwich University, and the BASIC Fund, “a privately funded organization providing partial-tuition scholarships to underserved families across the Bay Area,” on whose board Johnson sits.

ARTS & CULTURE: Johnson has served on the board of the San Francisco Zoological Society and has been active with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. The family has given SFMOMA millions through the years. Other grantees have included San Francisco Zoological Society, San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation, San Francisco Symphony, and Army Historical Foundation.

POLICY: Grantees have included Hoover Institution; Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy; Pacific Legal Foundation; and Institute for Humane Studies, “a libertarian non-profit organization that engages with students and professors throughout the United States.” The Johnsons appear to focus on right-of-center organizations.

OTHER: Johnson is on the president’s council of United Religions Initiative, “a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world;” he supports the organization. Other grantees have included St. Jude Children Research Hospital, Pacific Health Institute, and Focused Ultrasound Foundation .

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the family’s robust giving to continue, particularly in the realm of higher education and the arts.


Grant requests can be sent to:

Rupert H Johnson Jr. Trustee 
Rupert H. Johnson Jr. Foundation 
One Franklin Parkway Bldg 920, 4th Floor
San Mateo, CA 94403