Wendy Guillies, 816-932-1046
Entrepreneur-philanthropist Arthur Ciocca says initial $600,000 gift to Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation supports his foundation’s vision of high-leverage philanthropy
(KANSAS CITY, Mo. and SAN FRANCISCO), January 19, 2011–The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Arthur & Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation today announced a partnership to help more entrepreneurs start the high-growth firms that are needed to boost the American and global economies. To commence the partnership, the Ciocca Foundation—founded by Arthur Ciocca, chairman and owner of The Wine Group, Inc., and his wife, Carlyse—has made a $600,000 gift to help scale the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial programming. Specifically, the gift is increasing the number of participants in the Foundation’s Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation initiative, which recruits and trains aspiring entrepreneurs who have the potential to launch transformative, billion-dollar companies.
“We are extremely delighted with our new relationship with the Kauffman Foundation,” said Arthur Ciocca. “It marks the beginning of a new ‘high leverage’ era for our foundation and the end of a long search to find a co-investment partner that not only shares our vision for the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in America but that is also uniquely positioned to drive important breakthroughs to create value for our economy and society.”
“Just like our founder, Arthur Ciocca saw first-hand the power of entrepreneurship in his own life,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “We are honored to be working with the Arthur & Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, whose vision and passion about the role of entrepreneurs in society match ours. We are grateful for the monetary contribution, which is helping us expand our Kauffman Labs program more quickly. And we are equally pleased that in giving it, the Ciocca Foundation is shining a light on the need for more philanthropic support of entrepreneurship as one of the most effective means of expanding human welfare.”
With the Ciocca Foundation gift, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation is able to double its upcoming class of aspiring founders who intend to start high-growth companies in the education space. After a rigorous and highly competitive recruitment process last fall, the selected “education entrepreneurs” will start the intensive Labs training and mentoring program in February. Kauffman Labs’ goal is to provide unparalleled education, mentorship, and experiences that pave the way for more new billion-dollar firms to be launched. According to a Kauffman study released in December 2010, as few as 60 new companies a year that grow to a billion dollars in revenue could increase U.S. GDP by one percent.
“Partnering with Kauffman gives our foundation a vehicle to expand investments into a wider range of entrepreneurial activities, with a much higher probability of success and without adding expensive and inefficient infrastructure,” said Zack Georgeson, director of the Ciocca Foundation. “During this extraordinary time in philanthropy, many wealthy individuals are pledging to donate a majority of their wealth to causes dedicated to solving society's current problems. It is my hope that the Kauffman Foundation will be seen as a highly effective vehicle for ‘preventing’ future societal problems by helping to restore growth and employment in our economy through innovation and entrepreneurship."
Arthur Ciocca said this initial gift is just one example of the kinds of co-investment opportunities that exist for the Ciocca Foundation in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation. He added that he believes Kauffman is perfectly poised to “make dramatic breakthroughs in areas essential to growth and vibrancy in our society” and that “nothing would make us happier than to play a catalytic role in bringing more attention to and expanding their work.”