• Investing in Organizations Using Creative Solutions
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    Forefront: Innovations in suicide prevention

    Working together to reduce suicide risk in Washington.

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    Green Plate Special

    Inspire and empower youth to experience food in new ways through gardening, cooking and eating together. Learn more about our involvement with Green Plate Special.

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    Cascade Bicycle Club

    Bicycling for a better world - cycling has the potential to transform cities. MTF helped with the installation of bike counters in the city of Seattle to measure cycling activity and impact of cycling infrastructure investments.

Investing in Organizations Using Creative Solutions

We believe in the power of creative collaboration to transform people and communities

Philanthropists are investors seeking the ultimate return on investment: healthy and vibrant communities. At the Mark Torrance Foundation (MTF), we invest in people and organizations with the potential to strengthen communities locally and globally.

When I first began my journey in philanthropy, I was most inspired by those who were taking on social and environmental challenges with new and creative approaches. They taught me early on that success comes from collaboration and shared vision.

My first endeavors with MTF were lessons in the value of connections. We saw that the best solutions come when organizations work together with shared purpose. Our approach evolved to view investment as not simply a financial transaction but a dynamic relationship. A relationship where funders, grantees and other partners share expertise and resources to build a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Today MTF continues to learn and evolve. Our aim is to understand the challenges facing our communities and how we can partner in creating lasting change. We are entering a new and exciting period of growth where our giving portfolio will grow both geographically and into new issues. The results of our work will be measured in many ways. We know our ultimate success will be found in collaboration with people and organizations in order to create healthy and vibrant communities.

Mark Torrance, Founder

Since 2003, the Mark Torrance Foundation
has invested more than $6 million in 144 organizations
in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

CASE STUDIES

Green Plate Special

Providing Green Plate Special with a permanent home for their healthy eating programs for young people.
Read More

Forefront: Innovations in suicide prevention

Working together to reduce suicide risk in Washington
Read More

SDOT Bike Counter

Bicycling for a better world - Cycling has the potential to transform cities.
Read More

You must be a non-profit, tax exempt organization as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code to submit a grant application. The Board of Directors meets twice annually, at which time funding decisions are made. Please email a brief description of your project and request to Karin Cirillo at mtfinfo@tobagroup.com

If the project meets the mission of the Foundation and is of interest, you will be contacted with additional information, and a grant request form.

The Mark Torrance Foundation is a non-profit organization as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
View Our IRS Letter of Determination

Board of Directors

Mark Torrance

Mark Torrance is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of the Mark Torrance Foundation. Since forming the foundation in 2000, Mark has guided its work supporting hundreds of non-profit organizations working to create healthy and vibrant communities.

A native of Seattle, Mark attended Gonzaga Prep and The University of Washington. He founded Yesco Foreground Music which merged with Muzak LLP. He went on to found Photo Disc which combined with Getty Communications Ltd. from London to form Getty Images, Inc.

Mark now runs The Toba Group, a single family office which oversees family holdings in real estate, publishing, communications and other ventures. He has served on the Boards of the Nature Conservancy, the Pacific Science Center, The Northwest Children's Fund and others.

Jean Berry

Jean Berry has been an HR executive and consultant in the Seattle area for over 25 years, working primarily in biotech, internet and healthcare industries. Her focus areas are: building high-performing, fun, high-trust cultures; mergers and acquisitions; change management and training; employee health, wellness, and resilience; talent development; and being a trusted adviser to clients. She is a past board member of the Friends of the Seattle Public Library. She holds an MS in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University, a BA from University of Washington, and certifications in: Accelerated Implementation Methodology (AIM), Change Acceleration Process (CAP), and Myers Briggs (MBTI).

Chris Birkeland

Chris Birkeland is an expert in finance and operations for small, fast growing companies. His background includes various roles as a business consultant and investor as well as eight years as vice president of finance and operations for PhotoDisc, Inc. (Getty Images) and 14 years at Sugar Mountain Capital. As a partner at Sugar Mountain Capital and VP Production, Chris is responsible for the business development and operations development of companies such as Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Pasta & Co., Sugar Mountain Livestock and other various portfolio companies.

Chris has served on the board of the Ackerley Group, a publicly traded diversified media company, and serves as president and trustee of The Bishop Fleet Foundation. Chris is a graduate of the University of Southern California entrepreneurial program.

Mike Mathieu

Mike Mathieuis an entrepreneur focused on using the power of technology to advance the common good. He serves as an active founder, investor, or advisor to dozens of civic, political, and for-profit tech startups. He is Chairman of Front Seat, a founding board member of New Media Ventures (a national network of political-tech investors), a long-time partner in Social Venture Partners, and an investor in Impact Hub Seattle, Fledge, and SVP Fast Pitch.

Mike is also co-founder of Walk Score and founder and former CEO of All Star Directories, an INC 500-listed online marketing company serving the higher education market, and spent a decade at Microsoft where he was general manager of MSN.com. He holds a BA from Harvard and lives in Seattle with his two daughters. In his spare time Mike enjoys skiing, running, photography and travel.

Paul Okner

Paul Okner is a practicing attorney and principal at Fremont Law Group, PLLC, a real estate development and investment advisory firm based in Seattle.  In addition to representing clients in a variety of commercial transactions, Paul is active in the development of numerous real estate properties throughout the Puget Sound region. 

Paul graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University with dual degrees in Economics and Russian, received his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School, and completed the certificate in commercial Real Estate program at the University of Washington.  He also serves as a volunteer attorney with the Housing Justice Project in Seattle.

Dana Bass Solomon

Dana Bass Solomon leads Hollyhock, a transformational lifelong learning organization and innovator in creative culture and social entrepreneur networks. She has over 20 years of senior management in hospitality and social business, working with diverse organizations such as Cavallo Point, Osmosis, Two Bunch Palms and Jean Michel Cousteau Resort. Dana previously served as a director of the Canadian non-profit, Pivot Legal Society.

A mother of four adult children and grandmother of Banyan, Dana loves to swim in the ocean and walk in the forest with her husband Joel Solomon, and enjoys the joy of laughter shared with family and friends.

Contact Us

Our goal is to help those who are making things better.
If you are a non-profit organization seeking help with your project, we may be able to help.
Questions on the application process? See our guidelines below.

You must be a non-profit, tax exempt organization as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code to submit a grant application. The Board of Directors meets twice annually, at which time funding decisions are made. Please email a brief description of your project and request to Karin Cirillo at mtfinfo@tobagroup.com

If the project meets the mission of the Foundation and is of interest, you will be contacted with additional information, and a grant request form.