Philanthropist Tad Taube Supports Centennial Celebration of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition


March 3, 2015

Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team;
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Philanthropist Tad Taube Supports Centennial Celebration of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition
Taube Philanthropies’ support of The Bay Lights installation inspired his additional support for lighting of Ferry Building, Palace of Fine Arts

SAN FRANCISCO – After Tad Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies, launched a $2 million matching grant that successfully encouraged fellow members of the Bay Area community to provide the financial support necessary to keep the inspiring Bay Lights sculpture on the Bay Bridge shining, Taube was inspired to provide major funding in support of the centennial celebration of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE100), which kicked off tonight.

As of this evening, one of San Francisco’s most treasured landmarks – the Ferry Building – is once again adorned in lights with the numbers “1915” boldly illuminated on its tower.

Several hundred World’s Fair admirers, dignitaries and historians, many dressed in 1915 attire, were entertained by San Francisco ragtime singers as the Ferry Building Tower was relit to appear as fairgoers would have seen it in 1915 when arriving in San Francisco – many by ferry – to attend the World’s Fair. Taube joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Chief of Protocol Charlotte Shultz, and Donna Ewald Huggins to turn on the lights.

The lights will illuminate the Ferry Building tower from March 3 through December 4, the day the World’s Fair closed a century ago.

“The 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition — which was a citywide commemoration that put San Francisco on the world map — is cause for celebration, and we are doing just that with light and splendor across our beautiful city,” Taube said. “Our work with Bay Lights inspired us to also become involved in the Centennial festivities of lighting the Ferry Building and Palace of Fine Arts.”

The World’s Fair celebrated San Francisco’s recovery from the 1906 earthquake and its emergence as a center of world trade. Built in 1898, the Ferry Building was one of the few structures that amazingly did not suffer seriously damage during the 1906 earthquake. In 1915, the Ferry Building served as a vital transportation hub, helping welcome more than 19 million people who came to San Francisco to attend the World’s Fair. Throughout the Exposition, its tower was festooned with lights and a beacon proclaiming “1915” to visitors on both sides of the Bay.

Last weekend, in conjunction with the February 20 centennial anniversary of the 1915 World’s Fair opening, a yearlong centennial celebration began with the official reopening of the doors of the Palace of Fine Arts to the public during PPIE100 Community Day, which drew more than 10,000 visitors. One of the features was the special colored illumination of the Palace Rotunda, which was also supported by Taube and the Friend Family.

Inside the Palace, which is open to the public throughout the year, is Innovation Hangar, a unique social innovation space designed to be a place where thinkers, doers and critics can come together under one roof to facilitate connections, ideas and investments in a way that simply cannot happen in the virtual world.

A few blocks from the Ferry Building, visitors can also experience the history of the World’s Fair with the California Historical Society’s City Rising exhibition at its 678 Mission Street headquarters. Open through January 2016, the exhibition is a stunning jewel-box show, highlighting the Fair’s history, beauty and complexity, and including artifacts, memorabilia and film from the World’s Fair.

The Bay Lights Update

The Bay Lights, the monumental LED structure, currently lighting up the Bay Bridge, will experience its own “goodbye-for-now” ceremonies later this week, to allow for maintenance of the cables. Thanks to generous private donors and an agreement between the nonprofit Illuminate the Arts and Bay Bridge officials, the artwork will be reinstalled permanently in February 2016. On Thursday, March 5, at 8 p.m.

The public is invited to celebrate The Bay Lights at the following events this week:

  • Thursday, March 5, 7:30 p.m.: The first 1,000 people to arrive at the patio behind Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco) will receive an LED tea light. Gifted by Illuminate the Arts in appreciation of public support for The Bay Lights, the tea lights will continue to glow while the artwork is removed for bridge maintenance and serve as a reminder that the darkness is only temporary. Artist Leo Villareal and Illuminate the Arts Chief Visionary Officer Ben Davis will speak at 8 p.m.
  • Friday, March 6, 5:45 a.m.: Illuminate the Arts will offer free coffee and pastries on the patio behind EPIC Roasthouse (369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco). The Sunrise String Quartet—two violins, a viola and a cello played by members of the San Francisco Symphony—will perform for the last hour of The Bay Lights’ illumination.


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Taube Philanthropies was established in 1981 by its founder and chairman, Tad Taube. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area and with an office in Warsaw, the Foundation makes philanthropic investments primarily in the Bay Area and Poland, in scholarship, heritage preservation, arts and culture, education, and institution-building. Taube Philanthropies is committed to collaborative giving for greatest charitable impact and actively partners with individual donors and other foundations. For additional information, please visit


Tad Taube is one of the Bay Area’s preeminent philanthropists through his establishment and leadership of Taube Philanthropies, of which he is chairman, and his board service at the Koret Foundation, where he served as president for 32 years. Committed to serving the Bay Area community, he has served as trustee of Notre Dame de Namur and the University of San Francisco. At his alma mater, Stanford University, he is founder and advisory board chair of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, a member of the Board of Overseers of the Hoover Institution, on whose executive committee he continues to serve, was founder and past chairman of the advisory board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and is past chair of the Stanford Athletic Board.

Born in Krakow, Poland, in 1931, Taube has dedicated himself to the revitalization of Jewish life in Poland, including through serving as a distinguished benefactor of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, which celebrated its grand opening in October 2014, and through his role as San Francisco’s Honorary Consul to Poland.

Taube is chairman and founder of the Woodmont Companies, a diversified real estate investment and management organization. In November, he was inducted into the Stanford Real Estate Hall of Fame.