If you've owned a television at pretty much any time in the last 30 years, you've heard of Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1985 to 2000, nominated for 11 Daytime Emmys and presiding personality on the fourth hour of Today, with Hoda Kotb. Apart from being a daytime television mainstay, Gifford has dabbled in acting, and was a Christian singer who cut several gospel albums and appeared on religious television shows including The 700 Club. At 12, Gifford became a born-again Christian. This background is highly relevant to Kathie Lee Gifford's philanthropy.
Gifford moves her philanthropy through the Gifford Family Foundation, established in 1992 with her husband, the late Frank Gifford, a star NFL player and announcer. The foundation was originally called the Cody Foundation, named after her son Cody. His name comes up in a major piece of philanthropy that Gifford has been involved with over the years called the Association to Benefit Children (ABC), which "combats the debilitating effects of poverty and champions the right of every child to a joyful and nurturing childhood."
Through ABC, Gifford has helped create two children's centers. One is called Cody House, a "transitional home for parentless infants and children with serious disabilities and medical problems." The other is Cassidy's Place, named after the Giffords' daughter, which, among other things, "provides a day-care center for homeless children, and nursery care for children afflicted with HIV and AIDS."
What got Gifford involved with ABC (the charity, not the network) in the first place? Well, when Gifford was just three months into being a mother, an HIV-positive infant was placed in her arms at ABC.
Apart from ABC, Gifford has also supported Childhelp, "a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse," St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital, and the Jimmy Fund, which supports the "fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute."
Given Gifford's background, it's not surprising that the foundation supports religious institutions. In 2014, $10,000 went to the Protestant Foundation of the Ocean Leaf Chapel in Florida. In 2013, a modest grant went to Harvest Center, a religious organization in the Bronx. Support also has recently gone to the New York Dream Center, Jack Hayford Ministries, and others.
The Gifford Family Foundation has also supported antipoverty and human service outfits such as New York Rescue Mission and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Other foundation beneficiaries include health outfit Dana's Angel's Research Trust, an organization that funds research on Niemann-Pick Type C disease (NPC) and similar genetic diseases. NPC, by the way, is a disorder that prohibits the metabolism of cholesterol and other lipids.
Past support has gone to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although we'll have to wait and see what Frank Gifford's passing means for the family's football philanthropy going forward.
Related: Kathie Lee Gifford