UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Koret Foundation gift to The Bancroft

– The Centennial Campaign for the renovation and seismic retrofit of The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, has received a $1 million gift from Koret Foundation Funds, library officials announced today (Tuesday, March 8).

Charles Faulhaber, the James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library, called the contribution "extraordinary" and said it offers critical leadership support for the seismic and programmatic overhaul. Proposition 47, approved by California voters in 2002, will supply about $17 million for seismic improvements to increase public safety as part of the overall $64 million renovation.

The library, which celebrates its centennial this year, plans to publicly kick off its campaign for the renovation project soon. It needs to raise $5 million to complete the campaign. In addition to seismic work, the library will replace or upgrade computer networking, elevators, storage, plumbing and air conditioning, security, storage, research and teaching areas, and access and preservation capabilities.

Purchased by the UC Regents in 1905, The Bancroft Library is renowned for its vast collections on California and the American West. Its materials include records of the Donner Party, the Mark Twain Papers, University Archives, and images of the Gold Rush.

One of the most highly utilized special collections libraries in the country, the library will leave its space in the Doe Library Annex in June for about 18 months of renovation work, moving temporarily to a downtown Berkeley building owned by the Judah L. Magnes Museum.

"In addition to supporting hundreds of Berkeley classes and visiting scholars, and working with local school districts to integrate historical materials into K-12 curricula, The Bancroft Library is one of the few special collections libraries open to the public," said Koret Foundation Funds President Tad Taube. "We are pleased to be able to provide a lead gift, helping to ensure The Bancroft's future as a leading center for scholarship and instruction, not only for the university community, but for the community at large."

Since its inception in 1979, Koret has awarded more than $282 million in grants focused on a range of areas including education reform and youth development, community and cultural development, and policy analysis that responds to socioeconomic challenges. In addition, Koret has launched a series of initiatives to revitalize and strengthen the Bay Area's educational, policymaking and cultural institutions, as well as the economy in Israel.

Over its first quarter century, Koret's funding philosophy has evolved from traditional grant making to innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to fundamental contemporary issues. Underlying Koret's approach has been the vision of founder Joseph Koret and his commitment to democracy.