Jennifer Rainin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer
Jen Rainin launched the Kenneth Rainin Foundation in 2009, and has served as CEO since that time. She previously worked as a teacher and literacy specialist, earning her doctorate in education from the University of Illinois, Chicago along the way.
Under Jen’s leadership, the Foundation has adopted a targeted approach to grantmaking, developing several major initiatives in the arts, education and health. In the arts, she established the SFFILM/Rainin Filmmaking Grants, a successful partnership that has become the largest granting body for independent narrative feature films in the US. She also helped create the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, a groundbreaking real estate holding company, which has gained international recognition for its approach to mitigating the displacement of arts and cultural organizations throughout the Bay Area. In education, Jen has focused the Foundation’s work on early childhood education in Oakland, supporting literacy development for children from birth through third grade, and professional development for teachers and coaches working with these students. Jen‘s efforts in health led to grantmaking programs to support high risk, high reward ideas that advance Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research and the launch of Rainin Foundation’s Innovations Symposium, an annual event that brings together international and US researchers from disparate disciplines, to inspire novel ideas and collaborations that benefit IBD research.
Jen’s deep commitment to philanthropy was instilled early on by her father, Kenneth Rainin, and she continues to be involved in supporting numerous nonprofits and community based organizations, including the Center for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease at the University of California, San Francisco, which she established with her father. She is currently a board member of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and is board president of Court 13 Arts in New Orleans. She also serves on the Northern California Grantmakers’ Policy Committee, which helps shape policy strategy on behalf of Northern California Grantmakers. Her philanthropic efforts have garnered several awards, including 2015 Outstanding Foundation from the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Inside Philanthropy’s 2014 IPPY award, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s 2013 Champion of Hope.
Jen actively engages with grantees and experts in the Foundation’s program areas, bringing people together to create new ideas and collaborations, and listening to ideas outside of philanthropy’s traditional circles.
Rivkah Beth Medow, Director
Rivkah is an award-winning filmmaker who has created and managed documentary, broadcast, commercial, and non-profit productions for the past 10 years. Her projects have been seen by millions on PBS, Food Network, BBC, in film festivals, and in non-profit workshops worldwide. Following a long-standing interest in social and environmental justice, Rivkah co-produced two series of transformative documentaries for the non-profits The Pachamama Alliance and Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. SONS OF A GUN, her directorial debut, is a feature-length documentary about a unique family of schizophrenic men that premiered in 2009 at South By Southwest.
As a response to the discrepancy of access to the tools of media production in Oakland schools, Rivkah co-created a media literacy and production program for at-risk youth in the Oakland Unified School District. The program was youth driven and students collaboratively created short films that had festival and community screenings. As a long-time resident of East Oakland, she also volunteered at the East Oakland Community Project, heading up resume writing workshops and helping to re-organize the intake process. Prior to her filmmaking career, she worked primarily as a sculptor, teaching at the University of Vermont and creating a permanent public art installation commissioned by the city of Burlington, VT. Rivkah holds a BA in English Literature from Indiana University and an MFA in Film/Video and Performance from the California College of Art.
Eric Rodenbeck, Director
Eric Rodenbeck came to San Francisco in 1994, lured by a deep curiosity for the budding internet-based industry in the city. Twenty years later, Eric’s passion for cities, design, and technology has made him a both a local and international leader at the intersection of all three.
Eric caught the bug of telling stories with data at early dot-com Quokka Sports, where he turned GPS tracks from round-the-world sailing races into early data-viz entertainment. Having tried (and failed!) to start two internet businesses, in 2001 Rodenbeck founded data visualization design studio Stamen, where he is Creative Director and CEO. The company’s high bar for elegant, data-driven design has brought many brilliant data artists, designers and technologists through its doors. The studio’s pioneering work in the field has inspired countless more.
In 2007, Eric joined the board of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. Through this work, he founded and is now the President of the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), which provides affordable space for artists in San Francisco’s Central Market District through purchasing and repurposing downtrodden buildings.
By connecting design with civic duty, people with place, and data with delight, Eric fulfills his mission of being an ambassador of San Francisco values: openness, inclusiveness, experimentation, and throwing damn good parties.