Kayne Foundation grantees include L.A. arts institutions like LACMA. Photo: Michael Gordon/shutterstock
Kayne Foundation grantees include L.A. arts institutions like LACMA. Photo: Michael Gordon/shutterstock

Los Angeles residents Richard and Suzanne Kayne have been giving to local causes throughout Southern California for decades. You may not have heard of them, though, unless you’re involved in the investment industry. They maintain a low-profile with their foundation and personal donations. However, this is still a good Los Angeles funder to know because of the variety of interests and the typical size of the awards.

To help Southern California nonprofits get to know this funder better, here are some important details about the Kayne Foundation.

Regional Roots

Richard Kayne attended Stanford University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in statistics and then UCLA for his MBA. He worked as an analyst for Loeb, Rhodes & Co. and was a principal of Cantor Fitzgerald before going on to co-found Kayne Anderson, a niche-focused, alternative investment firm. Suzanne Kayne once served as the chairperson of the Kayne Eras Center, a school for K-12 students with developmental disabilities and other special needs. The couple created their own philanthropic foundation in 1986, which is a separate organization from the Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation.

Many Interests

The Kaynes have many charitable interests, and this is very much reflected in the grantmaking commitments of their foundation. Early childhood education is a huge interest because of Suzanne Kayne’s background. Other education funding revolves around Richard Kayne’s alma mater, UCLA, as well as well-established national organizations with a Los Angeles presence, such as Teach for America and KIPP LA Schools.

To a lesser extent, the Kaynes also support health and human service causes like cancer research, new opportunities for formerly incarcerated people, and mental health services. Arts grants typically go to well-established museums in the region. The couple’s children are involved in the arts, so this issue area also hits close to home. Another major interest of the Kaynes relates to their Jewish faith—they strongly support Jewish foundations, family service organizations and other LA-area Jewish institutions.

Examples of Los Angeles Support

In Los Angeles, the Kayne Foundation awards general operating support, scholarship program support and artist-in-residency support. It has recently awarded grants to the Art Museum Council of LACMA and the Hammer Museum. It is also a steady supporter of the UCLA Foundation. Over the years, Kayne grantees have included the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Homeboy Industries and Friends of the Los Angeles River. The Kayne Foundation has been awarding over $1 million in grants annually in recent years.

Limited Transparency and Accessibility

Unfortunately for Los Angeles grantseekers, the Kayne Foundation does not have a website and is not very transparent about its giving strategies and process. According to tax records, the foundation does not accept unsolicited funding requests and only awards grants to pre-selected organizations. This is a family foundation that typically sticks to organizations it is already familiar with, and ones with personal connections to family members.

Read more about this funder and others that give to local nonprofits in the Los Angeles area in IP’s LA and SoCal funding guide.