In 1948 Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soapmaker from a German-Jewish soapmaking family founded Dr. Bronner’s, which would eventually become the top-selling natural soap brand in the United States. He used the labels on his superb ecological soaps to spread his message that we must realize our unity across religious & ethnic divides: “We are All-One or None!”
Emanuel Bronner ran Dr. Bronner’s as an activist-oriented company, dating back to the 1940s when he would give passionate speeches, first on street corners, and then in crowd-filled auditoriums, calling on the human race to unite, all the while selling his Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap on the side. Carrying forward that same spirit of social engagement into the next generation, his sons Ralph and Jim began focusing their attention on meeting the needs of the communities where they lived, actualizing the ideal of human unity in their own lives by sharing company profits generously with the workers, and dedicating their time, talent, and financial resources to serving others. Their spirit of service and generosity is epitomized by their donation of a 1,200-acre parcel of wilderness worth $1.4 million to San Diego County Boys & Girls Club in 1998.
The Family Foundation was established in 2003 as a new avenue by which current and future generations of the Bronner family could carry on this legacy of activism and community service.
Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 grantmaking organization which administers the philanthropic giving directed by members of the broader Bronner family. In addition to being a vehicle for private philanthropic activities through which members of the Bronner family serve their communities, the Foundation houses the Migration Justice Initiative, a public-facing funding program established in 2019 to address the suffering, injustice, and human rights violations endured by refugees and migrants around the world. The Foundation also serves to facilitate select Dr. Bronner’s cause partnerships in collaboration with the company’s Constructive Capital corporate giving program.
The Foundation is run by a Board of Directors composed of Dr. Bronner’s executives and The Family Foundation’s Executive Director, Kris Lin-Bronner.
The Family Foundation Staff
Chief Grants Officer,
Migration Justice Initiative
As Chief Grants Officer of the Migration Justice Initiative, Kris is responsible for developing and implementing the initiative’s grant program to address the plight faced by refugees and forced migrants both in the U.S. and internationally, overseeing details of grant administration, strategic planning, communications, and policy work.
Previously, Kris was the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and Strategic Advisor for Dr. Bronner’s, overseeing the company’s corporate sustainability, accountability, and governance strategies, and guiding the company’s long-term impact in these areas. While at Dr. Bronner’s Kris navigated the company through the process of becoming a benefit corporation and Certified B Corp, and spearheaded many projects that elevated the company’s sustainability practices including the installation of onsite solar power generation, water-wise landscaping, a regenerative food forest, electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the incorporation of sustainability criteria within the company’s purchasing and travel policies.
Kris earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and has a graduate degree from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD. Kris currently serves as a board member for The AjA Project, an organization that empowers marginalized youth through documentary arts education, and is training to become a Zen Buddhist chaplain at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Bronner’s
Trudy founded the Family Foundation with her son David so that current and future generations of the Bronner family could carry on their legacy of activism and community service. She has facilitated over $7.9 million in donations since 2002 to community- and youth-focused organizations including: Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Palomar YMCA, Boys to Men Mentoring Group, the AjA Project, Fraternity House, and TERI. Her philanthropic work is one way she honors the memory of Jim Bronner, and her grants have inspired recipients to honor him as well—in the form of Palomar YMCA’s Jim Bronner Gymnasium and the James A. Bronner branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs.
In 2018, Trudy was recognized by the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as “Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year.” The Boys and Girls Clubs of America have awarded Trudy twice for her devoted service to the organization: in 2016 with the National Medallion and in 2019 with the National Service to Youth Award. The San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum named the Trudy Bronner Children’s Discovery Garden in her honor.
In her limited—but treasured—free time, Trudy enjoys spending time with her six grandchildren, playing Mah-Jongg, and reading.
Dr. Bronner’s: Family Soapmakers since 1858
Dr. Bronner’s is the top-selling natural soap brand in the United States, and is the source of funding of Dr. Bronner’s Family Foundation. Now under the leadership of the family’s fifth generation of soapmakers, the company strives to make better products and produce them under better conditions than what is currently the norm in our economic system. Through its regenerative organic and fair trade sourcing programs, the company ensures that all the farmers and workers in its supply chains make a living wage and are able take care of their land and communities in a way that regenerates rural economies and promotes biodiverse farming ecosystems.
As the fighting soap company, Dr. Bronner’s leverages organizational resources including finances, staff, communication platforms and industry relationships to advance progressive social change. Dr. Bronner’s has fought to raise the minimum wage; reform our nation’s devastating drug policy; integrate psychedelic therapy to heal hearts and minds; expose and transform industrial agriculture to a model that is regenerative and fair, and legalize hemp farming in the United States. Dr. Bronner’s caps executive compensation at five times the lowest-paid fully-vested position, and dedicates all profits not needed for the company to organizations, campaigns, and people working for a better world. The company’s support for these causes is also integrated across brand values and company culture. Donations made by the company directly comprise the majority of its giving and philanthropic work each year.