Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to Close

The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, established in 1951, has announced that it will cease operations as of December 31, 2012. Richard Goldman intended that the Fund end after he passed away.

Richard Goldman died on November 29, 2010 and Rhoda Goldman predeceased her husband in 1996. Their three surviving children, John Goldman, Douglas Goldman and Susan Gelman comprise the Fund’s Board of Directors.

Over its sixty year history, the Fund has distributed almost $700 million to 2,600 nonprofit organizations throughout the world. The Fund is particularly well known for its support of the environment, Jewish affairs, reproductive health, arts and culture and improving the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

The Fund’s philanthropic accomplishments include:

  • Nearly $40 million in gifts to the University of California, Berkeley – Richard and Rhoda Goldman’s alma mater – including $15 million to expand its School of Public Policy, now one of the top programs in the country;
  • Gifts totaling more than $25 million to landmark San Francisco arts and cultural institutions including the San Francisco Symphony to enhance the string section; restoration of Golden Gate Park’s historic Conservatory of Flowers; and support of Stern Grove Festival, which presents admission-free outdoor concerts;
  • One of the original funders of Taglit-Birthright Israel;
  • Support of religious pluralism, environmental causes and social justice in Israel, as well as the creation of the Goldman Promenade and its scenic vistas of Jerusalem;
  • The lead gift to rebuild the San Francisco Jewish Community Center, now the second largest JCC in the country.

The closing of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund marks a change – but not an end – to the family’s tradition of giving. The assets of the Fund itself will be distributed over time amongst the respective philanthropic foundations of the three Goldman children.

The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund is no longer accepting applications for grants. It will provide farewell grants to selected organizations, which will be determined through an internal process.

The Goldman Environmental Prize, another cornerstone of Richard and Rhoda Goldman’s philanthropic work, is a separate entity and will not be affected by the Fund’s closing. “The Prize will continue to support environmental activism here and abroad,” said Douglas Goldman, president of the Goldman Environmental Prize. “Through the Prize, our parents’ legacy and commitment to the environment will live on for years to come.” Every year, the Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes six grassroots activists, one from each of the world’s inhabited regions, bringing visibility and financial support to their work to protect the environment.

“Our parents devoted their lives to tikkun olam, to repairing the world,” said Susan Gelman. “Each of us is committed to carrying on that legacy in our individual capacities, by continuing to support the causes and issues about which we are passionate.”