Q: What is happening with the RGK Foundation?
A: RGK Foundation, a family foundation created by Ronya and George Kozmetsky in 1966, is facilitating the creation of two new family foundations: Kozmetsky Family Foundation and Reissa Foundation, which will be managed by the two main branches of the Kozmetsky family tree. All of the assets of RGK Foundation will be distributed equally to the two new foundations. As a result, RGK Foundation is no longer accepting applications for funding.
Q: Why is the family doing this?
A: Our family, which has always had a rich tradition of philanthropy, has grown exponentially over the past 50 years. We now have members of the third and fourth generations of the Kozmetsky and Scott families who are very interested in serving their communities. It is time to evolve our philanthropic practices in order to create new mechanisms for giving, and to allow for deeper engagement by more family members. Creating two separate foundations enables more family members to invest in social enterprises that align with their interests and passions.
Q: Is our nonprofit community losing a source of philanthropic support?
A: Not at all. In fact, we anticipate being able to accomplish more for our communities. Please keep in mind that the combined endowments of the two new foundations will be the same as the full RGK Foundation endowment; the funds will simply be managed by two separate foundations, with each team making decisions according to their respective strategies.
Q: How are the new family foundations organized?
A: The two new family foundations are organized by lineage following two branches of the Kozmetsky family tree. RGK Foundation’s namesake and original donors, Ronya and George Kozmetsky, have two children: Greg Kozmetsky and Nadya Kozmetsky Scott, who have served RGK Foundation as Chair and Vice Chair respectively for the past two decades. Each of their families has resided and flourished in different states – the Kozmetskys in Texas and the Scotts in California. In the meantime, two more generations have descended and now include seven grandchildren (and their spouses) and 18 great-grandchildren. Four generations of Kozmetskys.
With the creation of the two new foundations, Cindy and Greg Kozmetsky’s daughter, Sarah K. Miller, will assume leadership as president of Kozmetsky Family Foundation, while Nadya and Michael Scott’s son, Jordan Scott, will assume leadership as president of Reissa Foundation.
Q: Where will the foundations be located and what geographic areas will they serve?
A: Kozmetsky Family Foundation will be based in Texas and Reissa Foundation in Los Angeles. The new foundations will fund nonprofits in the U.S. but are still in the process of prioritizing geographic focus.
Q: Will the priorities and focus areas of the new foundations be the same as RGK Foundation?
A: The two foundations are evolving: they are planning and structuring these organizations, which includes defining strategic areas of focus. Reissa Foundation and Kozmetsky Family Foundation will communicate their respective missions and priorities when the planning process is completed in 2017.
With that said, there are values we share as a family: innovation for social good, giving back to our communities, and investing in quality ideas and organizations. While these values are likely to result in at least some continuity in the new foundations’ giving priorities, we fully expect to see some exciting new areas of focus as more family members are engaged.
Q: What will happen with RGK Foundation staff and board?
A: RGK Foundation is recognized for its incredibly talented staff and highly committed board members; we are immensely grateful for their leadership and long-term dedication to RGK Foundation’s mission through the years. The two new foundations are currently in the process of structuring their organizations, while also tending to a detailed wind-down plan for RGK Foundation. They will finalize staffing and board appointments as part of those efforts.
Q: Where has RGK Foundation focused its giving historically and what has been its impact?
A: It has been our great honor to serve the public for the last 50 years and to support the amazing work of our grantees. Since 1966, the Foundation has awarded over 3,500 grants totaling more than $133 million. In order to achieve its mission to advance knowledge, improve society, and help realize human potential, RGK Foundation has made grants across the country with a particular emphasis on programs that serve vulnerable populations such as women and children and that build institutional capacity for the nonprofit community. In the medical and healthcare arena, RGK Foundation has made significant investments to medical research, including scleroderma and ALS; programs addressing middle school obesity; and a variety of programs that increase access to healthcare services for disadvantaged populations. The foundation has always maintained a strong commitment to improving the quality of PreK-12 public education, primarily through professional development for teachers; literacy programs; programs that prepare students for lifelong success through STEM education and college readiness, access, and completion; and higher education, particularly in the area of nursing education. The foundation has similarly remained committed to long-term funding for systems change and program services for individuals and families affected by abuse and neglect. Finally, RGK Foundation has made signature investments in programs that advance philanthropy and prepare the next generation of nonprofit leaders through the establishment of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Q: What will happen with current grantees?
A: RGK Foundation will honor all of its funding commitments. Current grantees with reporting requirements due in 2017 and 2018 will continue to submit reports via RGK Foundation’s website www.rgkfoundation.org. A designated representative will be in contact with you and will monitor and review your remaining reports.
Q: Is RGK Foundation still accepting new funding requests until the end of 2016?
A: No, RGK Foundation’s 2016 grant budget is fully committed.
Q: To which foundation should/can we go to for funding?
A: If your grant proposal aligns with one or more strategic focus areas of the new foundations, you may submit your inquiry to one or both foundations. Once Kozmetsky Family Foundation and Reissa Foundation communicate their respective strategic focus areas, you can decide which (if not both) you would like to approach.
Q: How would we apply? What are the application processes going forward?
A: The two new foundations are currently in the process of structuring their strategies and processes. You may continue to monitor RGK Foundation website (www.rgkfoundation.org) for updates related to Reissa Foundation and Kozmetsky Family Foundation.