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.
We partner with groups that embrace innovation and get excited by new ways to solve age-old problems. These characteristics are markers of organizations that can push social change forward, whether they are big or small, rural or urban, established or just formed.
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