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W.M. Keck Foundation

Manager: Elizabeth Colello
Priority: Open


Established in 1954 and incorporated in 1959 in DE.

Founded in the name of the late William M. Keck, who was founder and former board chairman of The Superior Oil Co., considered traditionally to have been one of the nation's most successful independent producers of oil and natural gas. At the time of his death, the value of Mr. Keck's estate, in cash combined with nearly 107,000 shares of Superior stock, was estimated to exceed $180 million. Fifty thousand shares were bequeathed to the foundation.


arts, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, science


Giving nationally to universities, colleges, and major independent medical research institutions. Arts and culture, civic and community, health care, and precollegiate education and early learning are restricted to southern CA, mainly the greater Los Angeles area.

No support for conduit organizations or to organizations that have not received permanent tax-exempt ruling determination from the federal government and state of CA (if state exemption is applicable)

No grants to individuals, or for routine expenses, general endowments, deficit reduction, fundraising events, dinners, mass mailings, conferences, seminars, publications, films, theatrical productions, or public policy research.


Total giving: $54,992,000

Qualifying distributions: $54,992,000

Giving activities include:

$54,992,000 for grants


  • $3,000,000 to California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA, in 2013. To establish the Looking Out exhibit on telescopes, including the Keck Observatory, as part of the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will feature the Space Shuttle Endeavour
  • $2,345,780 to University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, in 2013. For Project Brain Protect: a novel light-based treatment for neurological diseases and injuries. Balance transferred from Doheny Eye Institute to University of Southern California
  • $2,000,000 to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Research and Education Institute, Torrance, CA, in 2013. For a basic science approach to improving the quality of donor liver transplants
  • $1,000,000 to Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, in 2013. To characterize a complete neural circuit and define the molecular signaling pathways leading to a behavioral response using a simple animal model of stress
  • $654,220 to Doheny Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA, in 2013. For Project Brain Protect: a novel light-based treatment for neurological diseases and injuries. Balance transferred to University of Southern California
  • $250,000 to Court Appointed Special Advocates, Monterey Park, CA, in 2013. To expand the Early Childhood Initiative by recruiting and training volunteers who specialize in addressing the needs of the youngest children in the child welfare system
  • $250,000 to Children, Youth and Family Collaborative, Los Angeles, CA, in 2013. To improve the high school graduation rate among foster and probation youth by expanding academic intervention program countywide
  • $250,000 to Los Angeles Opera Company, Los Angeles, CA, in 2013.
  • $50,000 to Pasadena Waldorf School, Altadena, CA, in 2013.
  • $25,000 to Paia Youth Council, Paia, HI, in 2013.