Seattle Institutions

Seattle Institutions Seattle Institutions
 
The Puget Sound region is brimming with cultural institutions that led to pivotal moments in Paul’s childhood. They also helped shape his development as a thinker. 
He was inspired by the excitement of the World’s Fair in 1962 and later wanted to do what he could to help avoid the pessimism that arose from the aerospace nosedive in the early 1970s, such as when the infamous “Will the last person leaving Seattle turn out the lights” billboard appeared near the airport. And so, while he’s perhaps best known for keeping the Seattle Seahawks football team from leaving town, he also made an indelible impression on the city by giving back to various cultural organizations that positively impacted his life and that of so many others.

For example, as the son of a librarian and a voracious reader, he contributed $22.5 million to support the city’s renowned Central Library, designed by famed architect Rem Koolhaas, and construct its much-beloved Faye G. Allen Children’s Center. 

Also, it’s no secret Paul loved music. It was this passion that led him to become a champion of the Pacific Northwest music scene, where his support of KEXP radio station (originally known as KCMU and founded at the University of Washington) transformed it into one of the most influential, highly respected, listener-supported radio stations in the world. His donation in 2001 allowed KEXP to transform into the trendsetting global broadcaster it is today. Then, in 2016, his donation changed the trajectory of the station again by allowing it to achieve its capital campaign goal and build its new state-of-the-art facility at Seattle Center.
The station later thanked Paul for his longtime support by dedicating the artist’s entrance of the station’s famous Live Room to him. According to KEXP, “Paul Allen was a true champion of music, and in particular music of the Pacific Northwest. It would not be an overstatement to say that KEXP would not exist as it does today without the backing of Paul Allen at a crucial time. His belief in the power of music will endure through the organizations and artists that he supported.” 
When one of his favorite childhood movie theaters was about to be torn down, it sparked a grassroots effort to save the historic venue that first opened its doors in 1963. After initially just signing the petition to show his support, Paul then stepped in to purchase the theatre to rescue it from developers. He restored the Seattle Cinerama to its former glory, later modernizing the theater by fitting it with the first laser projection system to be installed in a commercial theater. He also improved and expanded the seating, installed a state-of-the-art sound system, and added a massive, compelling mural on the theater’s exterior.  
 
Additional
Stories
Allen Institutes
Science
Allen
Institutes
The Allen Institute and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence lead cutting-edge science and making groundbreaking discoveries in bioscience and artificial intelligence research.
Great Elephant Census
Exploration
Great Elephant
Census
The Great Elephant Census was a massive undertaking to survey the remaining savanna elephants across the African continent. Results of this survey shocked the world into action.
MoPOP
Creativity
MoPOP
 
The Museum of Pop Culture opened in 2000 and over the years evolved into a hands-on museum experience celebrating all forms of popular culture and creative expression.
Tech for Good
Science
Tech for
Good
Paul believed technology could be leveraged to protect our planet, wildlife, and resources, and improve the lives of people everywhere.
Space
Exploration
Space
 
Paul pursued making space more accessible in ways that would fuel space innovation — including SpaceShipOne, the Allen Telescope Array, and Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane by wingspan.
Microsoft
Futurist
Microsoft
 
Paul's name is, of course, synonymous with Microsoft, the company he co-founded with his friend Bill Gates, which changed the trajectory of modern computing.