What We Do - Kenneth Rainin Foundation

What We Do

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation champions the arts, promotes early childhood literacy and supports research to cure IBD.


The mission of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation is to enhance quality of life by championing the arts, promoting early childhood literacy and supporting research to cure chronic disease.


The Kenneth Rainin Foundation envisions a world where all Oakland children read at or above grade level, no one suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Bay Area artists thrive.


Through our grantmaking and operations, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation embraces the following values:

Interdependence: We collaborate with our stakeholder communities, approaching our work with humility. We listen, build trust and hold ourselves and one another accountable for the results of our efforts.

Creativity: We undertake everything we do with curiosity and a growth mindset, seeking first to understand. We then leverage all available assets and innovate to create bold solutions.

Equity: We acknowledge, respect and celebrate the inherent differences we all bring. We commit to do all that we can to heal the harms that have been done in the name of those differences and ensure those harms do not continue.

Inherent in our core values is a practice of compassion, respect, humor and joy.

A young girl smiling and holding up a large sunflower she made out of colored paper.
Bright futures ahead. Photo credit: Stephanie Secrest

Our Founder

Kenneth Rainin wearing a gray suit with a peach tie, leaning against a door jam and smiling at the camera.
Kenneth Rainin

Kenneth Rainin built his fortune founding scientific and medical products companies, and 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. 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, for 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 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 nonprofits 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.

Our History

 Since our formal grantmaking began in 2009, Kenneth Rainin’s values have inspired us to pursue innovative solutions and make big bets to elevate artists, improve literacy and focus on patient outcomes. Our visual timeline shares leading achievements in the Arts, Education and Health.