Meet Our Founders
Larry and Joyce Stupski were committed to advancing opportunity and giving back to their communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaiʻi.
They brought their experiences of building successful operations in business and education to their unique approach to grantmaking and large-scale systems change. Perhaps as a result of their operations and business experience, they have always taken 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 closed the foundation in 2012 due to Larry’s advance-stage cancer.
Today, the Stupski Foundation, reestablished as a spend down foundation in 2014, is dedicated to creating the greatest possible change in the communities we call home.
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 remained devoted to her philanthropic work throughout the last chapter of her life up to her passing in 2021. Joyce and Larry’s passion for transforming lives through education, health care, and access to food continually inspire us in our work. Today, the Foundation remains committed to fulfilling Joyce’s vision for the spend down and carrying on our shared mission to ensure that every member of our community enjoys a life marked by dignity, connectedness, and caring.
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.