Ron Auen
President and CEO of Berger Foundation

Ronald M. Auen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, which is a private foundation that supports educational and other charitable projects. The Foundation provides generously to various charities throughout the Coachella Valley. Since 1988, the Berger Foundation has contributed over $300 million to charities throughout Southern California and the United States. The Berger Foundation Board of Directors regularly encourages partnerships with organizations and programs that “help people help themselves.”


What is the Mission of your Foundation?

The Berger Foundation’s core belief is based on bringing opportunity and knowledge to others in a manner that will “help people help themselves” by providing the necessary resources  to encourage and enable dreams to be followed and goals to be reached.

How has this economy affected your organization?

The Foundation has been impacted primarily due to the contributions to philanthropic groups being curtailed in all area’s leaving an ever-increasing hole to be filled. Berger has been making every effort to fill as many of those holes as our capacity will allow.

What role do businesses play in support of your organization?

Our connection to business and industry is predominantly through our investment portfolio. We do not deal with “for profit” companies for support.

Is there any sense of competition amongst the nonprofits?

We do not get involved with the inner workings of the nonprofit entities.

Is it more difficult to run a nonprofit than a for profit business?

Being a private Foundation, Berger has all the appearances and workings as a “for profit business” and requires the same strategies for investment as a “for profit business.”  We do not take grants or outside income from any other source.

The income and corpus are committed to the charitable world.

Do you pass up on federal funding because there are so many strings attached?

The Berger Foundation does not take outside funding.

What advice would you give to businesses looking to donate?

(see above)

Is there a special resolution you have for yourself or your organization this year?

No special resolution just our continued effort to fulfill the mission of the Foundation.

How do you encourage growth and development within your organization?

This is hard to describe as the original Committee, officers of the Foundation, are made up of individuals that have dedicated their life’s work for the mission of the Foundation so the encouragement has been there over these last 22 years.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be patient in your decision making process.

If you can say one thing to the next generation, what would it be?

That they participate in sharing what they have, no matter how large or how small.  The rewards are beyond their wildest dreams.

Finish these sentences:

I wish people would….Share

My biggest joy comes from…..Sharing

I am happiest when…..I see the happiness in others stemming from the work we do at the Berger Foundation.

What is the one lesson you would teach others if you could? It’s not the  possessions you have in life it’s what you do with those possessions that counts for fulfillment.

Recent challenge: The economy.

Measures of success: Our work.

Personal path to nonprofit work: I have always tried to help others but was inspired to a greater height by Mr. & Mrs. Berger.

Greatest inspirations: Individuals would be Mr. & Mrs. Berger.

Best recent moment: Those moments with my family.