Skip to main content

W. M. Keck Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-06-06

At A Glance

W. M. Keck Foundation

550 S. Hope St., Ste. 2500

Los Angeles, CA United States 90071-2617

Telephone: (213) 680-3833


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $1,234,432,000

Total giving: $55,214,000





Additional Contact Information

E-mail for Maria Pellegrini:


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.

Purpose and Activities

The foundation continues to adhere to the directions and guidelines established by its founder, using an interdisciplinary/cross-program or thematic funding approach. The foundation has designated the following specific areas of funding: Early Learning Program, Science and Engineering Program, Liberal Arts Program, Medical Research Program, and the Southern CA Program. Concentration is placed on strengthening studies and programs in accredited colleges and universities, medical schools, and major independent medical research institutions in the areas of earth science, engineering, medical research, and to some extent, other sciences, and the liberal arts. Some consideration, limited to southern CA, is given to organizations in the categories of arts and culture, civic and community affairs, health care, precollegiate education, and early learning.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Employee Matching Gifts

The foundation matches the monetary gifts of its officers and directors to charitable organizations.

Medical Research

The program focuses on innovative, basic biomedical research primarily in the areas of neuroscience, immunology, genetics, proteomics, and computational biology. It does not provide support for clinical trials or for disease-specific research. Support for research in hospitals is not currently a focus of this foundation. Grants may be made for equipment, renovations, fellowships, or to otherwise support the research project. For information about this program, e-mail:

Science and Engineering

The foundation seeks to enrich research through support for equipment, facilities, fellowships, and basic research projects at the frontiers of science and engineering. For more information see the foundation's web site or e-mail:

Southern California Grant Program

The program supports organizations located in, and providing direct services to, communities in Southern California in the areas of arts and culture, civic and community services, health care, and precollegiate education. For more information, see the foundation's web site or e-mail:

Undergraduate Education

The program supports exceptional projects in all of the liberal arts primarily at private, predominately undergraduate institutions. Past grants have focused on incorporating new instructional technologies into the liberal arts curriculum, and at projects in one or more of the humanities, arts, or social sciences. The foundation seeks to: 1) Foster new levels of student engagement and understanding, especially through active learning and collaborative curriculum development; 2) Expand interdisciplinary activities in balance with needs of each discipline; 3) Incorporate research activities into the curriculum and raise the bar of expectations regarding publications and presentations by undergraduates; 4) Enhance science and technology literacy for students in all disciplines; and 5) Develop new ways to stimulate critical thinking and other core competencies of a liberal arts education including early learning. For more information see the foundation's web site or e-mail:

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Child welfare
  • Computer science
  • Diseases and conditions
  • Education
  • Elementary education
  • Engineering
  • Genetic research
  • Graduate and professional education
  • Health
  • Higher education
  • Hospice care
  • Marine science
  • Mathematics
  • Physical and earth sciences
  • Science
  • Secondary education
  • Technology
  • University education
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $1,234,432,000 (market value)

Expenditures: $65,721,000

Total giving: $55,214,000

Qualifying distributions: $55,214,000

Giving activities include:

$55,214,000 for grants