Jennifer Rainin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Jen Rainin has served as CEO of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation since its public launch in 2009. 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, expanding and developing several major initiatives in the arts, education and health. She helped create two award programs for Bay Area performing arts organizations, and established the SFFILM/KRF Filmmaker Awards, a successful partnership with the San Francisco Film Society to develop narrative feature films with a social justice theme. She commissioned Stage Left, a regional Emmy-nominated documentary film directed by RAPT Productions that outlines and celebrates the history of Bay Area theater. She also helped create the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), a nonprofit dedicated to stabilizing arts organizations in San Francisco’s Central Market Street corridor. In education, Jen has focused the Foundation’s efforts on early childhood education, supporting literacy development for children from birth through third grade in Oakland. Her work in health includes establishing the Innovator and Breakthrough Awards for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research and launching the Rainin Foundation’s Innovations Symposium, an annual event that brings together great minds from disparate disciplines to spark novel ideas and approaches to IBD research.
Jen’s deep commitment to philanthropy was instilled early on by her father and she continues to be personally involved in supporting numerous nonprofits and community based organizations. She helped establish and provide ongoing support to the Center for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease at the University of California, San Francisco, and has also participated in fundraising for HIV/AIDS, Fragile X, Multiple Sclerosis, Breast Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis. Jen was a founding member of the San Francisco Ballet’s Encore Group and has volunteered in the production department of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Her leadership and dedication to philanthropic efforts have been recognized through several awards, including the 2015 Outstanding Foundation award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Gate Chapter; Inside Philanthropy’s 2014 IPPY award; and Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America’s 2013 Champion of Hope.
Jen actively engages with grantees and experts in the field, 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.