Seattle Foundation Blog

Remembering Jeff Brotman

Honoring the Costco co-founder and Seattle Foundation philanthropist who did his giving “in bulk”


August 03, 2017

As a long-time partner in the Brotman Family’s philanthropy, Seattle Foundation can easily attest to the tremendous generosity and community commitment of Costco Co-Founder Jeff Brotman. In fact, the Brotman Family Fund is one of the largest grantors in our organization’s history.

Jeff and Susan Brotman began their Seattle Foundation partnership in the mid-1990s with establishment of the Brotman Family Fund. This fund complemented their private foundation and provided an additional channel for their generosity, which centered on the arts (particularly Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle Art Museum), higher education (mainly University of Washington), the Jewish community, and many more local organizations representing a wide range of local needs.

Brotman, who recently passed away, recognized the role a community foundation can play in developing effective philanthropists. Early on, he lent his support to a Seattle Foundation ad campaign designed to attract new donors to the organization, particularly younger philanthropists who would benefit from the Foundation’s community knowledge, nonprofit network and guidance on giving for greatest impact. And, similar to the Costco model, Brotman appreciated how Seattle Foundation made giving easy and efficient -- by the truckload. Jeff Brotman ad

The advertisement read:
“Making strategic decisions about where his money goes is something Costco Chairman Jeff Brotman knows a lot about. That’s why he partners with The Seattle Foundation. 'The ability to team with a group who can support your giving is a huge asset,' he says. By handling the paperwork and eliminating the administrative hassles, we help Jeff, support the things he cares about. All of which add up to a foundation that delivers smart giving by the truckload.”

Jeff was a very inspiring and sophisticated philanthropist,” said Tony Mestres, president and CEO of Seattle Foundation. “He elegantly blended his philanthropy with his civic engagement and his professional career, letting his actions and contributions speak for themselves.”

We are grateful to Jeff and Susan Brotman for their generosity and passion for making Greater Seattle a stronger, more vibrant community for all. The Seattle Foundation team is honored to have had a front-row seat to the game-changing philanthropy of one of our community’s most iconic leaders. We extend our sympathies to Susan and children Justin Brotman and Amanda Brotman-Schetritt.




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