From early on in his CEO days at KB Home, Bruce Karatz gave back to the community, especially during times of need. The first signs of such efforts took place shortly after the Los Angeles riots, which took place very close to the company’s offices.
Due to a fire that sparked up during the heat of the riots, Camp Hollywoodland, a children’s retreat, was badly burned. KB Home spearheaded the efforts to bring the retreat back, and within a matter of months things were back to normal.
The Los Angeles area has always been near and dear to the heart of Karatz and KB Home, and in the early 1990s he worked with mayor Richard Riordan to form the Mayor’s Alliance for a Safer LA. Thanks to their efforts, they were able to raise over $16 million to put computers in all LA precincts to help with day-to-day activities.
After having a hand in several other projects around the country, the next big philanthropy project that Karatz and KB Home took on involved help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. KB Home was the first national homebuilder to go to New Orleans to help with the rebuilding efforts. In all, KB Home ended up acquiring 74 finished lots in downtown New Orleans, along with 3000 acres in Jefferson Parish.
In recent years since his time with KB Home, Karatz has worked as a full-time volunteer with HomeBoy Industries. The non-profit organization provides a second chance for gang members once they are released from jail. He currently sits as an active member on the board of trustees.