Who we are

Welcome to the A-Mark Foundation.
We fund facts.

A-Mark Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit foundation that for 25 years has supported research into critical social issues.

Our job is to supply open-minded, curious citizens with the facts they need in order to make informed decisions. We are a Santa Monica, California-based  501(c)(3) nonprofit, incorporated on February 27, 1997.

We support unbiased research that  advances education, discussion, and debate. Some of the research we undertake ourselves, using a worldwide network of scholars, journalists, and attorneys. Other research we sponsor through academic, nonprofit and journalistic institutions.

 

Here are some of the research projects we have funded or are currently funding:

1. RAND Center on Housing and Homelessness in Los Angeles:

Funding from the A-Mark Foundation supported RAND’s LA LEADS (Longitudinal Enumeration and Demographic Survey Study) research in 2023. The center is conducting surveys to learn more about the experiences of unsheltered people in Los Angeles.

2. Los Angeles Press Club Fellowship and Award:

In partnership with the LA Press Club, A-Mark Foundation funded the A-Mark Fellowship for Reporting on Misinformation and Disinformation to award grants of up to $2,000 to journalists for stories on misinformation and disinformation. The $5,000 A-Mark Prize for Reporting on Misinformation and Disinformation will be awarded to pieces journalism published on any platform that excelled at examining misinformation or disinformation in the public discourse.

3. Nonprofit Journalism on Trans Issues in America:

In this year-long project, funded by A-Mark, the nonprofit news media website The 19th will take a data-driven approach to studying trans and other LGBTQ related issues in contemporary society.

4. Skid Row Portable Toilet Monitoring Program:

In partnership with the LA Mayor’s Office, the Skid Row Brigade, and the ILM Foundation, A-Mark Foundation funded a pilot program in 2021 to collect data on the effectiveness of monitoring the approximately 50 portable toilets installed on Skid Row in response to COVID. Without monitors, the units are quickly vandalized or destroyed. The monitors were able to help the Mayor’s office prioritize resources to keep the toilets in better repair.

5. Official Anti-Jewish Acts:

A 10 year archival compilation of every anti-Jewish act passed anywhere in the world throughout this history, OAJA will serve as a reference tool for scholars, journalists, policy makers and anyone interested in the history of antisemitism, racial and religious bigotry, and  how law can serve to enforce hate and discrimination. OAJA is scheduled for completion in 2024.

6. Nonprofit Journalism on Veterans' Health Issues:

A-Mark provided funding for The Intercept and The War Horse to write articles about veterans’ health issues.

7. Ghost Guns:

A-Mark is sponsoring a study by the University of California Davis School of Public Health on the impact of ghost guns on crime in California.ff

8. Nonprofit Journalism on Gun Violence:

The Trace, a nonprofit newsroom, will write stories funded by A-Mark featuring data on the public health dimensions of gun violence.

9. City of Los Angeles Fentanyl Awareness:

A-Mark provided funding for two events related to fentanyl awareness aimed at homeless communities in 2023, in partnership with the Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

10. The Three Richard A. Clarke National Scholarly Monograph Competitions:

The competition ran in 2011, 2012 and 2013, covering lessons learned from 9/11; effective, alternative means of preventing violent extremism; and the question of whether drone attacks are moral or legal.

Our team

CEO
Rob Eshman

Rob joined A-Mark in 2022 after a 27 year career in journalism. Rob was the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Tribe Media, and National Editor of the Forward. His journalism has won numerous local and national awards. He is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Vice President
Tracey DeFrancesco

Before joining A-Mark, Tracey was Managing Editor at ProCon.org.  She has a Masters in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s degree in International Communications from Pepperdine University.

Senior Researcher
Kate Wraith

Kate joined A-Mark in February 2022 after previously working as a researcher for ProCon.org in Los Angeles and the Omega Research Foundation in the UK. She holds a Masters of Law in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from Lancaster University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Bath.

Our board

Founder and Chair Emeritus
Steven C. Markoff

Steve Markoff is an American entrepreneur, film producer, author, and educator. He is the founder of the A-Mark Financial Corporation, a financial services firm based in Santa Monica, California that originally traded in rare coins and precious metals. He founded A-Mark Foundation in 1997 to provide nonpartisan information about a wide range of social and political topics. In 2004, the foundation funded the creation of ProCon.org, a pioneering internet site that presented all sides of controversial issues. Steven grew the site to tens of thousands of monthly page view before donating it to brittanica.com in 2020.

Board Chair
Justin Jampol

Justin Jampol is the founder and current executive director of The Wende Museum of the Cold War, an art museum, historical archive, and educational institution in Culver City, California. A Los Angeles native, he  attended graduate school at Oxford University where he received a Master of Philosophy in Russian and East European Studies, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History. In addition to his leadership role at The Wende Museum, Jampol is adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University and a frequent commentator on art as well as East European and Russian design.

Robert Frcek

Robert J. Frcek, CPA, CGMA is the Chief Financial Officer of A-Mark Financial.  Prior to joining AMF, Robert served as an Audit Manager with Miller Kaplan Arase. Robert is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Benefit Plan Audit Services.

Mike Gatto

Michael Anthony Gatto is an American public official. After being elected to the California State Assembly in a special election, he served four terms, representing Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank. The Sacramento Bee concluded that Gatto was one of the most independent lawmakers. Gatto is known for authoring and passing the first California Rainy Day Fund and a 2019 statewide ballot initiative to comprehensively address the state’s homelessness crisis.  Now an attorney in private practice, Gatto is a frequent guest analyst on television news programs, is a member of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and a Captain in the California Guard.