Richard Goldman (1920-2010) was born to Richard Samuel Goldman (from San Francisco) and Alice Wertheim (from Great Falls, Montana). Richard attended the University of California, Berkeley and served in the United States Army between 1942 and 1946. Richard Goldman married Rhoda Haas (1924-1996), daughter of Walter A. Haas, Sr. and Elise Stern, in 1946. Rhoda also attended UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. In 1949, Richard Goldman founded Goldman Insurance Services. The Goldmans had three children: John, Doug, and Susan. During the course of the second half of the twentieth century, Richard and Rhoda Goldman established themselves as major philanthropists. The Goldman Fund, the couple's primary philanthropic organization, was launched in 1951. The funding priorities of the Goldman Fund have included programs in the San Francisco Bay Area that are related to local Jewish life, democracy and civil society, social and human services, population, the elderly, violence prevention, and children and youth. The Fund has also provided support to national and international projects relating particularly to the environment, democracy and civil society, population issues, and violence prevention. In 1989, the Goldmans launched the Goldman Environmental Prize, which quickly became the premiere international award for grassroots environmental work. The first Goldman Environmental Prizes were awarded in 1990.
The Richard and Rhoda Goldman papers document the lives and contributions of two of the most important figures in twentieth-century philanthropy. The papers are divided into 7 series: Personal and Family Papers; Richard Goldman's Chronological File, Richard Goldman's Travel Files; Rhoda Goldman's Subject Files; Rhoda Goldman's Mount Zion Hospital Board of Director Files; Memorabilia and Clippings; and Photographs.
The collection contains materials relating to Richard and Rhoda Goldman's work for a range of charitable and philanthropic causes, including Rhoda Haas Goldman’s tenure on the boards of Mt. Zion Hospital, Levi Strauss, and of San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, of which she was a member. It also includes items relating to her work on the Haas Promenade, the Goldman Environmental Award, which she and Richard Goldman created and endowed, the American Cancer Society, the Holocaust Memorial at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor Museum, and the Buck Trust. These papers also document Richard Goldman’s interests in national, state, and local government, the environment, photography, sports, and his support of various civic and religious-based charitable organizations. The collection contains some family papers and photographs.