The TomKat Charitable Trust is a private foundation formed and funded by left-wing San Francisco billionaire Thomas F. Steyer, and his wife Kathryn Taylor. The organization derives its name from combining the couple’s first names, “Tom” and “Kat.”
Steyer is a Democratic Party mega-donor who made his fortune, estimated at $1.61 billion, as a hedge fund manager at Farallon Capital Management. Steyer’s signature issue is climate change, or global warming. The TomKat Charitable Trust is part of a network of political, educational and philanthropic organizations funded by the couple to advance environmental activism and other left-liberal goals.
Established in 2009, the TomKat charitable foundation awards grants to groups dedicated to the development of “climate stability, a healthy and just food system, and broad prosperity.” The foundation maintains that climate, food and finance are interconnected and therefore critical to the success of sustaining a healthy planet. Ironically, the Steyer couple benefited from fossil fuel investments throughout Steyer’s 26-year career at Farallon Capital, as recently as 2014.
Steyer and Taylor seeded the TomKat Charitable Trust with $175 million in 2008. The vast majority of the foundation’s revenue, $72 million, has been derived from investment income. Only $2 million has come from outside contributions.
In 2012, Steyer sold his stake in Farallon Capital to focus more on politics and environmentalism. An outspoken critic against the Keystone XL pipeline, Steyer pledged to raise $100 million for his NextGen Climate Action super PAC ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections. In February 2014, Steyer hosted two dozen of the country’s leading liberal donors at his 1,800 acre California ranch that doubles as the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation. Founded by his wife, Kathryn Taylor, the ranch raises grass-fed beef cattle and is listed as a partner organization of the TomKat Charitable Trust.
In 2016, Steyer spent $90 million to back Democrats and climate change measures only to see Republicans maintain majorities in both houses of Congress, and gain the White House through the election of President Donald Trump. After the election, Steyer said there would be “no limit” to how much he would spend to combat the Trump administration.
Steyer and Taylor have given tens of millions of dollars to Steyer’s alma maters of Yale University and Stanford University. In 2012, Steyer donated $25 million to Yale to establish the university’s Energy Sciences Institute. Over the next two years, the TomKat Charitable Trust gave an additional $16.4 million. The couple also gave $40 million to Stanford to create the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy, and another $7 million for the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy.
Foundation records show the TomKat Charitable Trust had $132 million in assets in 2014, and gave $28.5 million that year to entities like Harvard University ($1.4 million), the Center for Ecoliteracy ($1.2 million), and the Advanced Energy Economy Institute ($1.1 million), among others. In 2013, the charity awarded $35.6 million in grants.
During the two-year period 2013-14, the TomKat Charitable Trust gave nearly $3 million to the Center for American Progress, a Washington D.C. liberal advocacy organization founded by John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former senior counselor to President Barack Obama. The TomKat Charitable Trust is listed among the Center’s top supporters, along with George Soros’s Open Society Foundations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.