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Samis Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-10-21

At A Glance

Samis Foundation

208 James St., Ste. C

Seattle, WA United States 98104-2220

Telephone: (206) 622-3363


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2015-12-31)

Assets: $129,798,997

Total giving: $4,738,886






Established in 1979 - Sam Israel was born into the Sephardic Jewish Community of Rhodes in 1899. He emigrated to Seattle in 1919 and went to work as a shoemaker. During World War II, he secured a contract with the US Army to repair combat boots and invested the earnings from this activity in real estate. He continued to accumulate properties, mostly those no one else wanted, and eventually created what is now known as Samis Land Company. During his lifetime, Sam Israel used much of the money generated from his investments for charitable purposes in the State of Washington and in Israel. In 1979, he established the Samis Foundation. He then established a Board of Trustees that would continue his philanthropy and perpetuate his legacy

Purpose and Activities

Giving primarily for Jewish day schools, Jewish overnight camps and Israel experiences for students in WA, with a focus on grades K-12.

Program Area(s)

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

State of Israel

As a result of Sam Israel's lifelong commitment to the State of Israel, his love of the outdoors, his interest in Jewish history, his empathy for immigrants and the disadvantaged, the foundation supports the following program areas in Israel: 1) Absorption of new immigrants; 2) Assistance for widows and orphans, for those, in Sam's words, who have "lost their provider"; 3) Wildlife preservation; 4) Archaeology; and 5) University scholarships for gifted, needy students. The foundation seeks major impact projects in the State of Israel in the areas listed above, where a Samis contribution makes a significant difference in the total funding of the project. Samis's grants for major projects are time-bound, generally given over 3-5 years. Thus, projects must demonstrate the ability to sustain operations after the Samis grant expires.

Washington State

The foundation supports quality, affordable Jewish educational experiences for students in grades K-12, to nurture a lifelong Jewish commitment to and identification with the Jewish people, its traditions, history, culture and destiny: 1) Day schools - to enhance the quality of Jewish day schools' programs and operations; and to remove cost as a barrier for parents of Jewish children desiring a day school education through reduced tuition rates or scholarships. 2) Overnight camping - to provide an intensive, informal, educational experience in Jewish life, culture, and traditions through quality, affordable overnight Jewish camping; 3) Israel Experiences - to enable Jewish teenagers the opportunity to experience the unique richness of Israel, through quality educational "Israel Experience" programs.

Fields of Interest

  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Judaism
  • Religion
International Interests
  • Israel
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Jewish people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2015-12-31

Assets: $129,798,997 (market value)

Expenditures: $10,255,572

Total giving: $4,738,886

Qualifying distributions: $5,387,347