Philanthropist Tad Taube Helps Bay Area Retain Magnificent Bridge Lights


December 17, 2014


Samantha Friedman, West End Strategy Team;
Office: (202) 776-7700; Cell: (202) 215-9260


Philanthropist Tad Taube Helps Bay Area Retain Magnificent Bridge Lights

Matching grant from Taube Philanthropies successfully challenges community to raise additional $2 million by December 31; challenge featured by New York Times, KPIX

Bay Area Magnificent Bridge LightsSAN FRANCISCO – Through a $2 million matching grant, Tad Taube, chairman of Taube Philanthropies, successfully encouraged fellow members of the Bay Area community to provide the financial support necessary to keep an inspiring light sculpture on the BayBridge shining. The Bay Lights, an installation by artist Leo Villareal, was due to be removed from the bridge in March when its original two-year permit expires, but after Taube Philanthropies offered to provide $2 million toward the $4 million needed by December 31 to ensure that the sculpture is reinstalled by 2016, other donors subsequently providing the remaining $2 million. The successful funding of the art ensures it will remain lit for the foreseeable future.

Taube Philanthropies’ successful challenge to fellow Bay Area donors was featured in the New York Times and on KPIX CBS San Francisco.

“There are few, if any, manmade contributions that could enhance our City by the Bay,”
said Tad Taube, chairman of San Francisco-based Taube Philanthropies. “The Bay Lights enriches the beauty and majesty of our city and its extraordinary San FranciscoBay. I am proud of and grateful to our fellow citizens for joining us in ensuring this magnificent work of art remains a part of our city.”

The Bay Lights is the world’s largest LED light sculpture, 1.8 miles long and 500 feet high, and was the brainchild of Ben Davis, founder and CEO of Illuminate the Arts, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. Internationally renowned contemporary light sculpture artist Leo Villareal has created a dazzling display of 25,000 LED white lights that illuminate the western span of the bridge, creating complex algorithms and patterns that never repeat. The Bay Lights was lit on March 5, 2013, and the artwork is on display nightly from dusk to dawn. On March 5, 2015, the installation will be taken down temporarily, so that Caltrans can perform maintenance on the 300 suspender cables on the side of the bridge to which the lights are attached.

With the successful raising of the needed funds, The Bay Lights will be reinstalled at the end of 2015 in time to shine for Super Bowl 50. The costs cover direct expenses for equipment, labor, construction and system integration for the reinstalled lights and the necessary organizational support.

“When Tad Taube discovered that The Bay Lights would disappear forever without public support, he also recognized it would require very significant financial support to ensure sufficient funds were raised,” said Ben Davis. “His $2 million matching grant has been absolutely pivotal, helping Illuminate the Arts to inspire additional gifts, increasing visibility of the need for funds, and creating real momentum. The Bay Lights will now become a permanent part of the Bay Area because of Mr. Taube’s commitment, and for that we are extremely grateful.”


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.