The San Francisco-based Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund has announced that it will close its doors at the end of 2012 after sixty years of continuous operation and $700 million in grants awarded.
The fund is no longer accepting grant applications but will award farewell grants to selected organizations based on an internal review process. Although Richard Goldman, who established the fund in 1951, passed away on November 29, the closing of the fund does not mark an end to the family's tradition of giving. According to Goldman's wishes, the fund's assets will be distributed over time among the foundations of his children — John Goldman, Douglas Goldman, and Susan Gelman — who comprise the current Goldman Fund board of directors.
The fund is best known for supporting organizations and causes related to the environment, Jewish affairs, reproductive health, arts and culture, and improving the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Major beneficiaries of its giving include the University of California, Berkeley — Richard and Rhoda Goldman's alma mater — which received nearly $40 million from the fund over the years, including $15 million to expand its School of Public Policy; and arts and cultural institutions in the San Francisco area, including the San Francisco Symphony and Golden Gate Park.
Highlights of the fund's environmental conservation efforts include the reintroduction of bighorn sheep in Yosemite National Park; a $5 million gift to protect ten thousand acres of Alaskan wilderness; and funding for numerous climate change initiatives and green technology projects. The Goldman Environmental Prize, another cornerstone of the Goldman's philanthropic work, is a separate entity and will not be affected by the fund's closing.
In addition, the fund was among the original funders of Taglit-Birthright Israel and has been a longtime supporter of religious pluralism, environmental causes, and social justice in Israel. It also contributed the lead gift in a project to rebuild the San Francisco Jewish Community Center.
"Having worked with the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund both as a grantee and as a colleague in the foundation sector, I have the highest regard for the important contributions the fund has made," said Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation president Steve McCormick. "The fund set a standard for imagination, courage, and generosity of spirit that has become a benchmark for other foundations. The Bay Area, the state of California, the nation, and indeed the world, have benefited profoundly and indelibly from all that the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund has achieved."