Launched in 1988 by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and his sister Jody Allen, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is dedicated to changing the trajectory of people’s lives and strengthening communities through catalytic philanthropy that helps meet our energy needs and address the threat of climate change, promote biodiversity on land and in the seas, give young people access to immersive experiences in art and strengthen education, address the needs of vulnerable populations, and advance scientific and technological breakthroughs around the world.
Letter From the Founder
When my brother Paul and I created the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation more than 20 years ago, our goal was simple: To create meaningful change in the community we care deeply about.
But we didn’t want to repeat what others were already doing, so we set out to go where other funders weren’t going, to fund what other funders weren’t funding. We wanted our contributions to have a unique impact, and to do that we decided to invest in potential – to pursue the overlooked corners and spot the unseen opportunities.
As a family, we believe in taking chances on creative thinking, supporting the unusual approaches and unproven ideas. This approach has become a driving force for our funding, and has shaped the grants we give, the projects we seek, and the outcomes we’ve seen from our support. Our Foundation does not look for "safe" funding opportunities.
As lifetime Seattle residents, the Pacific Northwest has played a key role in shaping who both my brother Paul and I have become. We've paid special attention to helping nonprofits that nurture the arts, promote reading and learning, and aid our region's most vulnerable residents. Regional giving will always be a priority focus of the Foundation. But as the world becomes ever more interconnected and the borders of community are no longer restricted by latitude and longitude, our family has been drawn to support projects that reach far beyond our own backyard.
Paul has taken a strong personal interest in pushing scientific research forward, founding the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence and funding the Center for Global Animal Health at Washington State University. The Foundation has carved out special funding for international conservation projects and ocean health initiatives and has greatly expanded the Allen Distinguished Investigators program, which fuels early-stage, cutting-edge scientific research.
We are excited to find new ways to support causes that can truly change the world. We are proud of our partners and the work that they do to make our world a better place, and look forward to continuing to take risks for big change in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Co-Founder, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
About the Allen Family
After World War II, a young newlywed couple left their home in Oklahoma and wound up settling in Seattle, Washington. Kenneth Allen and Edna “Faye” Gardner shared a love for books – he was the associate director of the University of Washington library system and she was a public school teacher at Ravenna School with a voracious appetite for reading. From the beginning, the Allens instilled a deep curiosity and love for new ideas into their two children, Paul and Jody.
Decades later, Paul and Jody continue their family’s tradition for learning and giving back to the community as founders of The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. With roots firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest, the Foundation follows a giving philosophy that reflects the Allen family’s respect for the pursuit of knowledge and their love for the arts and innovation.
In honor of Paul and Jody’s parents, libraries continue to be a key initiative inside the Foundation’s Pacific Northwest program. The Faye G. Allen Library Program supports projects in Washington and Oregon that encourage children to read and help connect patrons to books, information and ideas. Wherever the Foundation gives, there is a clear tie to the Allen family story and the legacy Kenneth and Faye began when they set down roots in the Pacific Northwest.
Paul G. Allen
Founder and Chairman of the Board, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen is working to save endangered species, slow climate change, improve ocean health, share art, history and film, develop new technology, tackle epidemics, research how the human brain works and build sustainable communities. In all his endeavors, Mr. Allen constantly asks “What if…?” and pushes people to challenge conventional thinking, collaborate across disciplines and reimagine what’s possible. Learn more at PaulAllen.com
Co-Founder, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Jody Allen has developed and led a wide range of the Allen family’s business and charitable endeavors around the world.
She is president of the board of Seattle's MoPOP, formerly EMP, the critically acclaimed museum of music, popular culture and science fiction. It was her influence that brought Frank Gehry in for the design of MoPOP, which has since been seen as a revolutionary architectural statement. She is vice-chair of First & Goal Inc., which oversees operations of the Seattle Seahawks, and also serves on the boards of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Seahawks Charitable Foundation.
An active member of the arts and education communities, Ms. Allen is known for her love of the arts and for her strong leadership skills. She has served on the boards of ArtsFund, the Theatre Communications Group, the University of Washington Foundation, the Museum of Glass, the Los Angeles International Film Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
An avid traveler, Ms. Allen is a member of the Explorers Club and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.