For a time, the Kingfisher Foundation operated as the Timothy Dattels and Kristine Johnson Foundation, but"kingfisher" is definitely more appropriate these days. Timothy Dattels is a former Goldman Sachs partner turned TPG partner and his wife Kristine worked in marketing management for several major technology companies. Kingfisher Executive Director Kristine sits on such boards as the San Francisco-based Sustainable Conservation and Environmental Defense Fund. These board memberships reveal the foundation's philanthropic priority: environmental conversation.
Kingfisher's goal is to help restore healthy marine ecosystems through sound fisheries management.
Why oceans and fisheries? The foundation notes that "overfishing driven by growing global demand, technology, and outdated management methods is the biggest threat to ocean health and resiliency." On the flip side, studies show that effective fisheries management can yield significant economic gains to fishers and for consumers around the world. Kingfisher works with and funds a range of advisors, conservation groups, academic institutions and other foundations to accomplish its goals. Kingfisher has been working this space with a rod and a reel for 14 years.
Unlike the charitable vehicles of other Goldman Sachs big winners that I've written about, Kingfisher actually has a website and even lists contact information. Unfortunately, though, the foundation is not open to unsolicited proposals.
Kingfisher's current conservation work is focused on the pacific coast of North America and the coral reef fisheries of the Pacific Ocean. It is particularly interested in projects that combine "sound scientific, economic, social, and political realities and have a potential conservation impact substantially exceeding the amount of time and capital invested."
The foundation's website does not provide a list of current grantees. A look at recent tax records, though, reveals that under $600,000 annually has moved out the door in recent years, to under ten grantees each year. Recent grantees include Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund (the recipient of a recent $300,000 grant), Defenders of Wildlife, Blue Ridge Center in Virginia, and Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, located outside San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, surrounding the Gulf of the Farallones.
Kingfisher has also recently supported University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; the foundation says it wants to help develop the careers of "results-oriented people who share its values" and to attract professionals from other fields to fisheries management. Another recent Kingfisher grant went to California Academy of Science.
Besides Kingfisher's environmental grantmaking, the couple has also recently funded arts and culture in the Bay Area via their foundation. Dattels is only in his 50s and still very much engaged with business but there's plenty of money on hand that may yet be directed towards this deep philanthropic interest. Deep, indeed.
Related: Timothy Dattels