Turning Points 2021

Year in Review

Message From Our CEO

Each year, I am struck by the ways that the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s values weave consistent threads through our Turning Points report. In 2021, these values—interdependence, creativity and equity—helped us respond to challenging moments. They were essential guides in shaping important steps forward with our grantees and partners.

Our values also inspired us to show up with curiosity and to really listen. Our Arts, Education and Health programs continued to build and sustain close ties with our grantees and partners. These relationships are fundamental to understanding and responding effectively to the needs of our communities. As a staff, our culture of listening and learning allowed us to be more connected and accountable to each other. It has strengthened our capacity to build trust and be creative and responsive—with each other and in our community relationships. Trust in each other has helped us navigate change and uncertainty with a sense of common purpose.

Our journey toward equity continued. We shared key lessons to shed light on our path thus far and help inform others’ equity work. We also took steps to understand and be transparent about our staff demographics as we collect that information from grantees. We believe that the people who make up the Rainin Foundation should reflect the richly diverse communities we serve, and we continue to work toward that goal. As we deepened our equity practice, we also used our privilege and power to address injustices affecting our communities.

We acknowledge our interdependence and are listening to and learning from those who are closest to the problems we’re collectively trying to solve. Achieving our mission requires collaboration. Community wisdom and expertise are vital to identifying and shaping opportunities for meaningful change.

Jennifer Rainin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

To prioritize equity and focus on long-term strategies for systemic change, I promoted two leaders who have deep knowledge of the communities we serve. Shelley Trott became our Chief Program Officer and will guide our evaluation and learning work in the Arts, Education and Health. Shelley has been integral to the Foundation since its inception and knows our work at a cellular level. Ted Russell, a nationally recognized field leader with a rich understanding of the Bay Area arts community, became Director, Arts Strategy and Ventures. Ted’s expertise has been essential to the Foundation advancing initiatives to help artists thrive. And in December, we welcomed two new Board members—a current grantee and a new generation of the Rainin family. We know that bringing more minds with new ideas and diverse perspectives will strengthen our effectiveness as a grantmaker and community partner.

As you read Turning Points, I hope you will see how we leaned into our values throughout the year. We will keep showing up and seeking collaborative, creative solutions to the myriad challenges facing our extraordinary grantees and partners.

Thank you for your trust in us.

Jennifer Rainin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

“We must be in partnership with those whose lives and work are closest to the fields and communities we support.”

Jennifer Rainin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer

Thank you grantees and partners for your dedication and resilience.