Starting and scaling a corporate foundation
Kathleen Owsley joins Purposely to share her story starting the Bosch Community Fund.
The fund has donated over $37 million since inception in 2011 and it is the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America.
Kathleen was inspired by her sister whose life was tragically cut short at the age of 41. This experience made her determined to live her life to the full and get the most out of it ‘I felt like I was living my life for both of us’.
Kathleen also talks about her Irish heritage influencing her desire to help others and want to make a positive impact to people’s lives, ‘one of our (cultural) attributes is to want to feed people, support people and be generous’
In the 90’s Kathleen spent time in France and Ireland and rather dramatically she cashed in her 401K (pension) and went backpacking around Ireland. Kathleen also studied Irish history in Northern Ireland. It was at the end of this period of study that she ended up temping at Bosch not realising at the time that she was go on to lead their foundation in North America.
A return to the United States and a random lunch led to Kathleen to the opportunity to launch the Bosch Community Fund as their founding Director. We go into the start up phase of the fund and how those early decisions about structure, giving themes, approach to giving has led to its success and enduring effectiveness.
The Fund is a grant maker and focuses on the enrichment of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and advancing environmental sustainability initiatives. They partner with charitable organisations and educational institutions across the US to provide quality project-based learning hands-on learning opportunities for students and professional development for teachers.