The William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation was created by William K. Bowes, Jr., a venture capitalist who founded U.S. Venture Partners, a company that was an early investor in the biotechnology firm Amgen and the computer company Sun Microsystems. The foundation supports educational institutions, charities in the San Francisco Bay Area, medical charities, and environmental organizations, but it does make some grants to center-right nonprofits, including the Cato Institute, Hoover Institution, and Independent Institute.
William K. Bowes, Jr.
William K. Bowes, Jr. served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines during World War II and in post-war Japan. He later attended Stanford and earned an MBA from Harvard. After working for the investment bank Blyth and Company, he founded U.S. Venture Partners in 1981. This venture capital firm was an early “seed” investor in the biotechnology firm Amgen and the computer firm Sun Microsystems. 
Bowes retired from the Amgen board in 2002 and became a full-time philanthropist. He was on the executive committee of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; chairman of the board of The Exploratorium, a science museum; and on the board of the University of California, San Francisco Foundation.  Accepting an award from the Independent Institute in 2008, Bowes said philanthropy was “really fun” and “was more fun than golf and more fun than toys.” 
Stem Cell Research
In 2004, by a 59-41 margin, Californians passed Proposition 71, which authorized the state to create the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a state agency conducting research on embryonic stem cells. William K. Bowes, Jr. contributed $1.3 million to this effort. Other major contributors to the “Yes on 71” campaign included Pierre Omidyar, Bill Gates, and then-U.S. Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ). 
After the initiative passed, the People’s Advocate and National Tax Limitation Foundation argued that the creation of the Institute was unconstitutional as the measure formed a state agency not subject to oversight. In 2006, five foundations and one investment trust bought $13 million in “bond anticipation notes” to keep the institute running until the courts could determine the institute’s constitutionality. The Jacobs Family Trust contributed $5 million, and the Bowes, Moores, Broad, and Benificus Foundations each donated $2 million. Blum Family Partners, created by the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) gave $1 million.  Later in 2006 the California Supreme Court declared the Institute constitutional, and the investors were repaid. 
Universities and Culture
The two largest grants made by the Bowes Foundation was a pledge of $50 million to the University of California, San Francisco Foundation in 2016  and $48.4 million to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for construction of a new building to house the conservatory.  The building was completed and opened in February 2022. 
The Bowes Foundation’s three largest grants in 2019 were to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music ($6.1 million), Stanford University ($4.3 million) and the University of California (San Francisco) Foundation ($3.2 million). The foundation donated to three center-right nonprofits: Independent Institute ($500,000), Cato Institute ($100,000) and the Hoover Institution ($100,000).