For the past few decades Tad Taube has heavily been involved with philanthropy. He says there’s four things that can happen to your money when you pass away, but ideally giving it away yourself is the best option. Here he shares what you need to know to start because it’s a whole complicated than just writing a simple check.
Welcome back and visiting here today with Tad Taube and welcome to today's show.
So Tad, you've done a lot throughout your life, I want to focus a little bit today more on the philanthropic causes that you you've been involved with throughout the years and you received an award, The Commander's Cross Star of the Order of Merit. How did that come about?
It was a direct byproduct of the work we've done in Poland for the last 15 years or so. We, meaning my philanthropic organization started working in Poland in about 2002 with the express purpose of trying to breed a little bit of life into a diminishing Jewish population I don't have to repeat for most people what happened to the Jews in Poland during the Holocaust, so in the aftermath and particularly several generations now after the Holocaust, the survivors are diminishing but there's a new group of Jewish people in Poland which we refer to as the new Jews and those are the people that have become aware of their Jewish background, maybe a grandfather or grandmother or an aunt and were really afraid to talk about it during the German period and certainly during the Russian or Soviet period. And then after the after the 1989 revolution where Poland essentially throughout the Communists and became a free democratic republic, people felt that they could discuss things that were otherwise off-limits in the prior 50 years and what that gave us an entree to be involved in various programs in Poland to try to make it easier for those people which we call the new Jews to come forward. And interestingly enough, probably today there are upwards of 40,000 people that we've now identified as a part of the new Jewish population and those people are getting organized, they're joining organizations are becoming involved with their synagogues they're- we have two very active JCC's. One Warsaw and one in Cracow and we've been very supportive of the government's effort to resuscitate Jewish life as well. And you know we've become well known to the government. And so consequently a byproduct of that has been a series of awards that I've received from the President of Poland, one of which was The Commander's Cross with oak leaf clusters or whatever they call that- it's actually my second one and part of it was also the selection of me as the as the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in the Bay Area.
So Tad recently you were involved with one organization, the Koret Foundation but you stepped down and you're continuing on with philanthropic efforts, but what role did Koret play for what you are currently doing and have you really had to change anything with the fact that you steppe down?
Yeah well Koret Foundation was a very important component of my philanthropy because in a sense, I came on as a founding director of the Koret Foundation and shortly after it was formed- it actually became part of the formation of the foundation in 1980 or 1981 or there abouts. So it was an education because in 1980 or '81 none of us that were involved with the Koret Foundation including Joe Koret knew much about philanthropy so what the Koret Foundation did for all of us, is it taught us the business of philanthropy. So the more I knew about that business and the more I was actively engaged in promoting it for Koret I started also two different philanthropic organizations under the Taube banner which you know were substantial in terms of their giving and substantial in terms of their corpus. And so when I retired from the Koret Foundation- or at the point of retirement I think about- for every $2 that I was giving or involved in a gift from the Koret Foundation there was probably $1 that I was involved in giving from Taube Foundations and philanthropies. So in other words, I already had a major philanthropic trust at the time that I retired from Koret.
I'm visiting here today with Tad Taube, he's a philanthropist and a longtime resident here in the Bay Area helping many many organizations. And Tad, I need to take a quick break and we'll be right back after these messages.
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Welcome back I'm visiting here today with Tad Taube and after the first segment we we're talking about your role as a philanthropist. How do you decide which organizations that you'll get involved with, do you have a defined cause or mission within your your plan giving?
Sure, the process of identifying ideas organizations or people to support really originates both from the outside and the inside. The inside is I tend to be attracted to organizations that are consistent with my personal philosophy and goals things. Things that I really believe in, the ideology of giving, you know the organizations that correspond to my idea of how philanthropy should be organized. So that's internal. External is just exactly what it means, in other words I get solicitations from people, hundreds of them actually from organizations and people and our job is just try to sort through those and identify those organizations that we want to support. Now there's an underlying element of that whole process that is very important and that is, we try to only support organizations where we think that there is the ability to identify an impact. In other words, we're not just going to throw money down a rat hole and wonder what's happening to it, we have a very well-defined idea at the onset. Before we ever even put a penny into any organization as to whether or not our money is going to make a difference and and how that's going to manifest itself.
You know oftentimes people that are donating to certain causes or charities will come back with we made a donation we got behind the cause, but our dollars did not reach where we wanted the dollars to go. They were siphoned off administratively into other other pieces. How do you ensure that when you make a donation that your dollars are reaching the cause and the need that you're you're requiring to change?
Well I think after the fact it's not going to happen. In other words if you give the money and then you know you want to take some measures or steps to ensure as you put it that your money is going to go where you think it's going to go- that's too late. Those decisions have to be made before a single penny goes out the door. You got to make sure that there is a stream of identifying where the money is going and what it's going to do and how it's going to affect whatever it is that you're trying to impact.
And for substantial donations will you get involved with a board seat or oversight to behind the organization? The question is more directed at, doing your advance planning, how do you communicate the oversight of the funds or making sure-
Well as I say it's very much an upfront process and I want to stress that that if you're trying to figure out after the money is gone, it's too late. But we also do monitor what's going on within the organization because generally speaking the larger grants are multiple year grants so we might make a five-year grant let's say to the University of California at Berkeley to their anthropology department. And each year you know we are evaluating what happened and what was right and what wasn't right and so forth so we're also making mid-course corrections as we go. And there have been instances where we've cut off the funding because the organization either was not conforming to the to the grant itself and the conditions of the grant or they were financially in trouble and hadn't been able to raise the monies from other sources that they claimed that they would be able to raise.
If the charity is outside the borders of the United States do you become involved with them?
Well we are involved in, probably a third of all of our philanthropy now goes to Israel and Poland, so but it's a very similar process. I mean we're working with organizations that have good management we're working with grants that are well-defined up front. We're working with organizations that appear to have the financial wherewithal to complete their missions and we monitor. And I would say that our results are probably comparable to what they would be here in the United States.
I'm visiting here today with Tad Taube and Tad I need to take another break and we'll be right back after these messages.
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Welcome back, I'm visiting here today with Tad Taube and Tad in the earlier segments we're talking about being involved with philanthropic causes and how you vet out organizations ensuring that the dollars get to where they need to go. I imagine that years ago you could have just hung up the shingle and said I'm retired, why philanthropy?
Well you know I think I answered that off-mike and that is that, I'm getting older and I'm in wonderful health and I'm very active and I play tennis and workout and do all the good things, try to keep my weight under control, but at some point I'm not going to be here. And so I'm trying to focus a little bit on what happens at that particular point. I think as I told you before, there's four things that can happen, your money can go to the government which is not exactly a positive outcome from my standpoint. You can screw up your children- that's not that's not favorable. Let somebody else give it away. Or you give it away yourself and so the process of giving it away myself is a cumulative process, in other words it's not only the grants that I'm doing today, it's also the grants that I did yesterday and the day before and the day before that that are coming back you know for reconsideration. So it keeps me very busy. I'm probably at this point I would say I work about 60 hours a week, most people think that to be my age working 60 hours a week you got to be a lunatic, but I enjoy my work and and if anything it keeps me going it keeps me young. I love young people I spend most of my time with people that are far younger than I am and I you know and I'm looking forward to doing this for a long time to come.
Tad I imagine that once you're involved with an organization there's a tendency to become dependent on multiple year grants. You're monitoring it but how do you how do you put the tail on the end of the donation? Do you usually give for a certain period of years and say that's it?
No they're all different
They're all different. I mean every grant is a grant unto itself you know there's no two identical ways of giving away money. I mentioned multi-year grants because the bigger ones you know if we're giving away let's say five million dollars or more or even three million dollars, we might do that in installments and we monitor what's going on you know constantly with each installment of our gift and there is a tail at the end of this. We do come to an end and then we do a very thorough evaluation of what we've done and generally speaking because we're so careful altogether about the way that we'd go about making our commitments that we've had very few really what I would call surprises. You know businessmen hate surprises, I hate them with a passion I don't like surprises. You can surprise me at a birthday party but don't surprise me with a grant that goes sour.
When you're working with organizations outside the US and you mentioned earlier that about a third of your money is moving that direction,
How do you do the monitoring for someone that's remote?
Same way, we monitored exactly the same way we have offices in two cities in Poland and Kraków and Warsaw. We have an office in in Jerusalem and we monitor just exactly the way as we do here. We have representatives on the ground, they're involved in originating the grant, they're involved in the grant process of determining what the terms of the grant are going to be and they're involved in the evaluation. Now I will say that most of the grants that we do overseas are larger and they're probably larger because- I guess partly because it's a little harder because of the distance involved and secondly because we want to ensure an impact and in a foreign environment, it's easier to track your money if there's a lot of it in play.
So you're a qualified 501(c)(3) organization, Taube ventures or Taube-
Well we have actually three separate philanthropic organizations that we use to- four actually- that we use for giving money. One is I can give the money directly and I don't have to have any kind of a federal ID number to do that. We can give the money through Taube Family Foundation which is a 501(c)(3). We give the money to Taube Foundation for Jewish life and culture which is a 501(c)(3). Or we have donor advised funds at Stanford which are significant in amount and I'm quite certain that Stanford has a 501(c)(3) designation since they collect billions of dollars in philanthropic contributions.
So the dollars that you're working with, as you place them, essentially you're placing it into other organizations that are qualified 501(c)(3)s, in other words you don't do any operations yourself.
No no of course not. No we don't do any of the operations. We basically support the operations of other organizations that are organized for this specific purpose.
Tad when when everything's said and done and you're looking at you know how you're remembered in life, how do you want people to remember you as the greatest successes that you were able to accomplish?
Well I have a number of children and I'd like to be remembered as a good father certainly. You know I don't really view the work that I'm doing as a philanthropist as a sort of a flag over my remains, I just want to be thought of as somebody that was well intentioned, did good things, had a great love of people and a very great love of democracy. You know one of the things that drives me here- and this is something that I'm I glad to have the opportunity to mention it- I'm an immigrant as you know from our prior conversations. This country has been extraordinarily kind to me. I love the United States and as you notice I'm wearing a little flag right here. I'm patriotic and I am disturbed by some of the things I see going on today, the riots and the attempt to not recognize the political process that has gone on in this country for years to have an orderly change of government. You know we're one of the few countries in the world that has an orderly change of government and I'd also like to be remembered for my patriotism.