Larry and Joyce Stupski

Meet Our Founders

Larry and Joyce Stupski were committed to advancing opportunity and giving back to the communities they called home in Hawaiʻi and the San Francisco Bay Area. They drew inspiration from their experiences building successful operations in business and education to their unique approach to grantmaking and large-scale systems change. Together, Larry and Joyce donated $723 million to individual nonprofits and the Stupski Foundation. 

As a couple, they frequently took a nontraditional approach to philanthropy. For example, in 1996, they founded the initial Stupski Foundation as an operating foundation to transform public education nationwide. The Stupskis were inspired by the students in their lives and believed in what kids could become with the right social supports, mentorship, and quality public education. Working with superintendents, state policymakers, nonprofits, and education administrators throughout the system, the Stupskis sought to improve leadership capabilities and drive substantial systematic changes that would close the achievement gap. 

Throughout this work, Larry and Joyce cherished the connection they made with students and faculty, reminding them why this work is so important. After years of working with and learning from talented educators and advocates, the couple paused operations at  the foundation in 2012 due to Larry’s advance-stage cancer.

Today, the Stupski Foundation, converted to a spend down foundation in 2014, is dedicated to returning resources to communities in Hawaiʻi and the San Francisco Bay Area by 2029 to support just and resilient food, health, and higher education systems for all.

“Spending down gives our staff and grantee partners the opportunity to dream big, take risks, and make real change in our communities.” Joyce Stupski

Joyce Stupski

Joyce Stupski was a driven entrepreneur, a devoted Bay Area public school teacher and administrator, and a patron of the arts. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Joyce grew up passionate about the arts and education. Inspired by the support she received from her teachers, Joyce learned the power of public education from an early age and went on to become the first in her family to attend college. A lifetime lover of music and the performing arts, Joyce studied music and played the organ at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Joyce went on to obtain her master’s in teaching from Indiana University to become a public school teacher to bring her passion for education into her work.

Joyce’s career brought her to the Bay Area, where she spent several years teaching students with learning disabilities in schools primarily serving children from low-income households in San Francisco Unified School District. Motivated by her classroom experiences, Joyce became a district administrator, where she developed and implemented district-wide teacher training programs. The connections she made with her students during her time in education stayed with her, eventually fueling her passion for funding transformational education efforts in her philanthropy. She later built a management communications firm, Pringle and Associates, and led the business for decades. When she decided to devote her time fully to philanthropy with her husband, Larry, she applied the operational experiences she gained as an administrator and entrepreneur and her passion for working with students and their families to their grantmaking. 

In 2014, Joyce reestablished the Stupski Foundation as a spend down foundation to realize the couple’s shared commitment to their communities and to honor Larry’s memory. Because of her experience caring for Larry at the end of his life, Joyce expanded the Foundation’s focus to include efforts that improve how seriously ill patients and their loved ones experience the end of life. Joyce devoted the last chapter of her life to her philanthropic work until her passing in 2021. Joyce and Larry’s passion for transforming lives through education, health care, and access to food continually inspires us in our work. Today, the Foundation remains committed to carrying out the spend down mission. 

Lawrence “Larry” Stupski

Larry Stupski was a leader in the financial industry, including serving as the president and chief operating officer at Charles Schwab for more than a decade. Grateful for the educational and professional opportunities that helped him succeed, Larry was passionate about making sure students from low-income households receive the same opportunities as their higher-income peers.

Larry was the first in his family to go to college, attending Princeton University on a football scholarship. Throughout his studies, he saw the systemic forces that prevent many students from achieving their academic and professional goals, which influenced his philanthropy later in life. Larry went on to attend Yale Law School and joined the Navy, where he served in Vietnam.

For much of his life, Larry was an active philanthropist committed to funding in education, cancer research, and the arts. Beyond his grantmaking, Larry developed long-term relationships with grantees to find more ways, beyond funding, to support their important work. He served on nonprofit boards including Teach for America, Glide, the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In 2013, Larry died at the age of 68 after a decade of battling prostate cancer. He was a trusted mentor and thought partner to many of his nonprofit colleagues and left behind a legacy of transformative change, particularly in the field of education.