Bay Area foundations donate big dollars to Skirball

According to Tad Taube, who is also president of the Koret Foundation, his foundation chose to support the museum because "it is the most spectacular statement of Jewish culture from an American perspective I've seen in years."

Other major donors from the Bay Area include the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Colleen and Robert D. Haas Fund, the Miriam and Peter Haas Fund, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Junior Fund, the Swig Foundations, BankAmerica Foundation, the Friedman Family Fund and the Theodore H. and Frances K. Geballe Philanthropic Fund.

The center's chief benefactor has been the Skirball Foundation, which donated $30 million to the project. Jack Skirball, born in 1896, was ordained as a rabbi at Hebrew Union College. After a decade as a pulpit rabbi, he went on to produce such motion pictures as "Birth of a Baby" and Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt."

The center opens debt- and mortgage-free. Estimated annual budget for the center is $3.5 million, which will support a staff of 40.