Kenneth Rainin was an indomitable entrepreneur who built his fortune founding scientific and medical products companies, and who later parlayed his wealth and management expertise to serve many charitable causes.
The son of William and Betty Rainin, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1938. He graduated from Ohio State University before enlisting in the US Army. Mr. Rainin entered the business world shortly after his discharge from the Army.
At the age of 25, he founded Rainin Instrument Company that initially distributed laboratory instruments and supplies. Mr. Rainin secured the rights to sell a line of laboratory pipettes, which are instruments used for liquid sample testing. Pipettes are commonly used in medical procedures and in chemistry and biology research. Through design improvements, Mr. Rainin built the Pipetman into the dominant brand of pipettes used in laboratories. Later he developed his own line of ergonomic pipettes that are now recognized as the standard around the world. Pipettes were not his only business interest; other ventures included intraocular lens manufacturing, food manufacturing, wine production and the gaming/hospitality industry.
Mr. Rainin was involved in many civic and cultural activities. Among his greatest passions was the San Francisco Ballet, which he served as Chairman of the Executive Committee. He showed his deep commitment to education by serving as Trustee of both St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California and the Head-Royce School in Oakland, California. He was a solid supporter of medical research at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and contributed millions of dollars to research on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), establishing the UCSF Center for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. He made significant contributions to UCSF and other institutions in several other research areas as well.
Mr. Rainin had a passion for perfection. Many would argue his greatest talent lay in design and innovation. He used these talents to build his businesses and to help the many non-profits with which he was actively involved. He was known to have a knack for finding ways to grow and improve organizations and for connecting people in his many business and charitable activities.
Mr. Rainin established the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to support his philanthropic interests. As a testament to his generous and compassionate nature, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation was named the beneficiary of the majority of his estate upon his death at age 68 in May, 2007.