Perhaps you’ve heard the name Ronald W. Burkle in connection with the Yucaipa Companies investment firm or related to his co-ownership of the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team. But the 66-year-old investor and billionaire is also a philanthropist with his own private foundation—an organization that’s more accessible to SoCal nonprofits than you might think.
Topics of Grantmaking Focus
Fortunately for grantseekers, the Burkle Foundation has a fairly informative website to consult for guidance and insights. The funder’s broad mission aims to “positively influence people around the world and their communities.” But in reality that mission translates into grants for workers’ rights, empowering underserved community, arts and architecture projects, helping children learn, and advancing scientific research.
As you can see, Burkle has diverse philanthropic interests, but his personal affiliations—many in the Los Angeles area—also shed some light on foundation priorities. For example, Burkle serves as co-chair of the Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA and on the board of AIDS Project Los Angeles. His list of past board memberships includes the Los Angeles Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Music Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He has contributed millions to the Democratic party and hosted fundraisers for the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and other prominent left-leaning political leaders.
Past Shows of Support
Although the Burkle Foundation has international interests, Southern California has been a hot spot for philanthropy over the years. Burkle was born in Pomona, California, which is in Los Angeles County, and he attended California State University, Pomona.
The Burkle Foundation is currently based in Los Angeles, and Burkle has won numerous honors and awards from Los Angeles-based groups. Grantmaking is certainly not restricted to this region, but it is where a significant number of grants go each cycle. Past local grantees include Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Kids in Sports of Los Angeles, Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games, and the Asia Society Southern California Center.
How to Request a Burkle Grant
SoCal organizations should know that the Burkle Foundation is open to receiving unsolicited letters of inquiry, which are reviewed by the staff on an ongoing basis with no set deadlines. Simply submit information about your nonprofit’s project, organization history, amount requested, budget, projected timeline, and IRS tax exempt letter via mail for funding consideration. Emails and phone calls to the foundation are not encouraged.