The Rosenthal Family Foundation was originally established in the late 1940s by Richard L. Rosenthal Sr. and his wife Hinda. Richard Sr. turned Citizens Utilities into a powerhouse utilities company. The couple were passionate about the arts throughout their lives and established their family foundation to support emerging artists. The foundation runs several long-operating award programs, including the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction, awarded annually since 1957.
Richard Rosenthal Jr. followed in his arts-loving parents footsteps. After graduating from Choate and Harvard, he attended American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Rosenthal went on to a successful career in Hollywood, directing such films as 1983's Bad Boys, which helped launch Sean Penn's career. He worked on the Emmy-winning ABC series Life Goes On, as well as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville. In recent years, Rosenthal has turned to the independent film world.
Apart from the Rosenthal Award for Nonfiction, the foundation also supports the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Painting, a $10,000 award given to a young painter of distinction. Via their foundation, Rosenthal and family also fund arts nonprofits annually. Grantees have included Rosenthal's alma mater American Film Institute, as well as Lincoln Center Theater, Utah Film Center, Film Forum Inc. and PEN Center USA, which has received particularly strong support.
While the arts are heavily featured in Rosenthal's grantmaking, this Hollywood veteran's philanthropic slate is rather varied, including support for health and medical research. It sponsors national awards in clinical medicine through the American College of Physicians, American Heart Association, and American Association for Cancer Research, among others.
The family also earmarks funds for education, supporting schools like Brooklyn Academy of Music, and California Institute of the Arts. The environment is another interest, and Rosenthal's wife Nancy takes the lead here as an environmental sustainability advocate. Grantees have included Conservation International, NRDC, Best Friends Animal Society, and Union of Concerned Scientists, where Nancy sits on the board. Nancy is also active in progressive Democratic circles, and animates some of the family's support of progressive organizations.
All in all, this is an active funder that spreads is money widely, but unfortunately is not particularly accessible to grantseekers. In a recently reported tax year, around $2.7 million went out the door. The foundation does not have a website and there are no clear grant guidelines, though a recent 990 indicated that the foundation was open to unsolicited proposals. The foundation provides an email address. For a complete overview of this funder, read our profile of Richard Rosenthal Jr. linked below.
Related:Richard L. Rosenthal Jr.