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Martha and Bruce Karsh

Martha and Bruce Karsh are both UVA alumni and met as students at the School of Law.

Martha Karsh, who graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1978 and UVA Law in 1981, is a leader in the nonprofit world and co-manages the Karsh Family Foundation. Since they formed their foundation in 1998, the Karshes have committed more than $300 million in gifts, focusing primarily on education, including support for educational access, and financial aid and scholarships. Martha also serves on the national Board of the KIPP Foundation, the nation’s largest network of high-performing public charter schools. She is a trustee emerita of the UVA Law School Foundation, co-founded the Los Angeles design firm Clark & Karsh, and, with historian Mark Lewisohn, published the book, “The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night: A Private Archive” (Phaidon Press, 2016).

Bruce and Martha Karsh
Bruce and Martha Karsh

Bruce Karsh, a 1980 UVA Law graduate, is the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, a global asset management firm with assets under management of $150 billion. Bruce also served 12 years on the Board of Trustees of Duke University, where he earned his undergraduate degree and where the undergraduate financial aid office is named for the Karshes as its top scholarship donors. He also serves on the executive board of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, of which he and Martha are co-owners.

The $50 million gift from the Karshes will support the establishment of the Karsh Institute of Democracy and provide funds for construction of a prominent building on the Emmet-Ivy Corridor, a future hub for public forums, research and classes. That building is expected to open by 2026, although the work of the Karsh Institute of Democracy will begin much sooner. UVA plans to match the Karsh gift with $50 million in additional philanthropy and University support.

“For a healthy democracy to thrive, its core principles, institutions and processes must not only be studied and understood, but also vigilantly protected and strengthened. We believe higher education is ideally suited for this responsibility, and we’re delighted to support the University of Virginia’s ambitious effort to lead in this work.” — Martha and Bruce Karsh.

The Karshes have long been motivated to support education, and have grown particularly interested in how higher education is uniquely able to address growing threats to democracy.