The Rise Of The Korean Nursemaid

Many soft-spoken service workers become fierce when they can. Blacks, for instance, used to do much of America’s menial labor and they were known as docile servants. That all changed after the Civil Rights revolution of the 1960s. Now their jobs are largely taken by Mexican and Filipino immigrants who similarly have a reputation for docility. Well, just wait until they have power and then see how docile they are.

It’s easy for men to bonk down in social class (many of my buddies attached themselves to Filipina and Mexican women when they couldn’t find a quality white girl). Many white men marry oriental women because they think they are meek and mild and submissive and later get a shock when the tiger mother comes out. If you have your life together, why would you want to attach yourself to someone with a credit score below 700 who constantly creates chaos? Been there, my friend. It didn’t work out so well.


SAN FRANCISCO — For decades, the petite and soft-spoken Susan McClain Koret has barely had a voice.

The 76-year-old Korean immigrant is officially “chairwoman for life” of the prestigious $500 million Koret Foundation, which her late husband Joseph set up to fund humanitarian causes both here and in Israel. But in quarterly board meetings at the foundation’s renovated brick San Francisco headquarters, she is frequently treated by powerful and well-known fellow directors as little more than the nursemaid she once was for Joseph Koret’s dying first wife.

The long-simmering conflict exploded last week in dueling lawsuits and news conferences, casting an unflattering light on the inner workings of one of the Bay Area’s largest and most revered philanthropies. The Koret Foundation — best known for its donations to Jewish community and religious organizations, as well as a host of schools and museums like the Exploratorium — has distributed half a billion dollars since the late 1970s.

Koret claims that the clubby board — led by real estate magnate Tad Taube, the best man at her wedding to Joe Koret — is funding its own pet projects and conservative causes instead of following her husband’s vision that money be used to help the most needy.

“Joseph Koret,” her lawsuit states, “is turning over in his grave.”

The story of how a simple military bride rose to a lofty position in one of San Francisco’s most prominent philanthropies says a lot about how Susan McClain Koret found her voice among her late husband’s well-heeled associates.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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