The Board of Directors of the San Mateo County Historical Association is pleased to announce philanthropist Tad Taube of Woodside as its 2017 San Mateo County History Maker. Founder and Chairman of Taube Philanthropies, Taube awards grants to charitable programs and initiatives around the world. He’s overseen hundreds of millions of dollars in philanthropic donations and pledged most of his wealth to philanthropy as a signatory of the Gates/Buffet Giving Pledge.
Tad Taube was born in Poland and fled the country just months before the outbreak of World War II. As a Polish Jew, he remembers the fearful journey through the heart of Nazi Germany, with SS officers scrutinizing his identification papers at each station.
Taube reunited with his family in New York City via Ellis Island. Nearly penniless, they moved to Los Angeles to seek business connections with Polish friends. Family circumstances improved, and Taube was able to afford and attend Stanford University. He participated in the Air Force ROTC program and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1954.
After college, Taube joined the Air Force as a Communications Officer, responsible for installation of ground-to-air landing systems throughout the western United States. Following his military service, he returned to Stanford where he earned a master’s degree in industrial management. After a brief stint in the then-emerging high-tech industry, Taube pursued a successful career in real estate investment and management.
In 1968, San Francisco apparel giants Joseph and Stephanie Koret sought Taube and his Woodmont Companies to help diversify their assets in real estate. These investments soon dwarfed the Korets’ apparel fortune, so when their company, Koret of California, came to the brink of insolvency, they sought Taube’s investment expertise and appointed him Chairman and CEO. Over the next six years, the once struggling company was restored to profitability and in 1979, Taube engineered its sale to Levi Strauss & Co. for close to $100 million. Afterward, Taube returned to his real estate investments.
It was around this time that the Koret Foundation was established. Taube and three close associates joined Joseph Koret as Directors of the fledgling foundation. Koret passed away two years later, leaving his estate to enlarge the corpus of the Koret Foundation, and appointing Taube to lead it. Over the next 35 years, the foundation prospered in its philanthropic reach and asset growth under Taube’s leadership.
During that time, Taube founded Taube Philanthropies, comprising the Taube Family Foundation and later, Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, which focuses on supporting organizations engaged in civic and cultural life, education, youth and sports initiatives, public policy research, and the strengthening of Jewish culture in the Bay Area, Israel and Poland. Taube serves as honorary consul of the Republic of Poland. Taube retired as President of the Koret Foundation in 2015 to focus his time and energies on leading Taube Philanthropies.