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Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund

Richard Goldman

What He Gave

San Francisco philanthropist and civic leader Richard Goldman donated $3 million to restore a 1.6-mile coastal hiking loop trail and access points within Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Lands End. The donation, made through the Goldman Fund in 2005, was the lead gift for the project.

The area along San Francisco's western shore with stunning views of the ocean, Marin Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge, is one of the most popular destinations within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and attracts one million annual visitors. Over the years, wear and tear, overgrown vegetation, unauthorized pathways, landslides and vandalism turned it into a less pleasant area to recreate.

Initially, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund provided a $400,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study for the project. A second grant of $2.6 million went toward the first phase of improvements on the project including:

  • Paved and expanded parking,
  • Construction of a new scenic overlook of Mile Rock,
  • Construction of a new loop trail, bathrooms, and tree-trimming of overly grown areas to open up views,
  • removing invasive plants,
  • planting of over 35,000 native flowers, grasses and other vegetation,
  • assessment of how to best to preserve the Sutro Baths.

Why He Gave

Goldman and his late wife Rhoda's interest in the environment grew out of their childhood experiences.

"We both came from families that spent time out of doors," Goldman told Philanthropy News Digest in 2003. "We hiked in the mountains with our parents and siblings, and that gave us an opportunity to appreciate nature at its best."

Goldman has a special connection to Lands End, having hiked the area since he was young. He grew concerned as he watched it become impacted over time and wanted to transform it to a world-class park site.

"It's the most spectacular area to walk in the city," Goldman said in 2006. "I think it will be a very well-received area for hiking and taking in the beauty, and it will be comparable to the walk along Crissy Field."

The project was a natural fit with the funding objectives of the Goldman Fund that focuses on improving the quality of life in San Francisco, the environment and Jewish affairs.

"Making money up to a point is fine," says Goldman. "But if you really want to get some value out of your life, start thinking how you can give it away."

Goldman died of natural causes in December 2010 in San Francisco. He was 90 years old. Through the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, Goldman and his wife provided hundreds of millions of dollars in support of a variety of charitable causes in the Bay Area and internationally. In 1989, the couple created the global Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots environmental activists, considered one of the world's top ecological awards.

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