The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, founded in 1988 by Paul Allen and his sister Jody Allen, has invested nearly half of a billion dollars into improving communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Our purpose is to light up the world with meaningful change, starting close to home and moving around the globe. We want our work to fund field-changing research. To give first-time entrepreneurs the tools to rewrite their futures. To enable artists to make sense of the complexities of our world.
But this kind of change is unmapped. It requires a willingness to take chances, and take them often. We already know what proven ideas can do. It’s the unproven ones we’re interested in. Unrealized potential is the difference between predictably good results and a powerful ripple effect.
This is why we are dedicated to taking risks, both big and small. We partner with organizations that have brave, creative leadership. We thoughtfully seek causes that aren’t the obvious ones. The curious initiatives. The unconventional perspectives. The incredible and unexpected ideas.
We partner with exceptional nonprofits who are bold enough to not only change the world—but reinvent it.
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
With lifetime giving totaling over $2 billion, investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen has spent his career tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. His philanthropy has sparked important developments and innovations in the areas of science, education, conservation, the arts and community improvement.
Allen is included among the world’s leading philanthropists who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes to charity. His giving is channeled through The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and through direct gifts, including $26 million in 2010 to Washington State University for the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. In 2003, he created the Allen Institute for Brain Science to accelerate understanding of the human brain in health and disease, supporting the Seattle nonprofit with $500 million to date. A decade later, he launched the Allen Institute for the Artificial Intelligence to explore critical questions in AI.
Allen, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, is mapping new frontiers and fueling exploration across a broad range of industries as the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., the Seattle-based company that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts. Allen’s vision has forwarded projects such as leading the massive redevelopment of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, founding three museums including Seattle’s critically acclaimed EMP Museum, and launching Stratolaunch Systems, which is developing a revolutionary airborne launch system.
Allen’s award-winning film company, Vulcan Productions, develops and supports media projects that help audiences understand the world around them and respond to challenges. Idea Man, Allen's 2011 memoir, was a New York Times bestseller.
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 also president of the board of Seattle's EMP Museum, the critically acclaimed museum of music, popular culture and science fiction. It was her influence that brought Frank Gehry in for the design of EMP, 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.
Ms. Allen has also supported a number of major research projects, including the study of the long-term effects of nuclear detonation testing on the marine environment, and helping marine biologist Hans Fricke unravel the mystery of the coelacanth. An avid traveler, Ms. Allen is a member of the Explorers Club and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.