OVERVIEW: Former Goldman Sachs Partner Richard Atlas, his wife Lezlie, and family move their philanthropy through the Atlas Family Foundation, which primarily gives in the Southern California area, with a focus on early childhood intervention programming.
IP TAKE: If you're not working in the early childhood space, this funder is not for you.
PROFILE: A UCLA and Harvard Business School graduate, Richard Atlas retired in 1994 as a general partner at Goldman Sachs. In 1996, he was selected as a founding member of the California Endowment, which works to improve the quality of and access to healthcare for underserved populations. Atlas, his wife Lezlie, and family strongly focus on Los Angeles and Southern California in their philanthropy.
Lezlie Atlas plays a strong role in the family's giving. Armed with a degree from USC School of Education, Lezlie is a child development specialist. The Atlas Family Foundation invests in "human capital supporting community-based programs that place individuals on a trajectory to good health and success by serving the needs of young children and their families in Southern California." The foundation supports direct services, intervention and education programs for children prenatal to three and their families, and public policy/advocacy that create systemic change improving their lives.
The foundation makes about sixteen grants a year, with grants averaging around $50,000. A snapshot of Los Angeles grantees includes:
- Advancement Project supports advocacy work with members of the Los Angeles Delegation of the California State Legislature to champion greater investment in LA County infants and toddlers
- CASA Los Angeles to support its Early Childhood Initiative.
- The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to "provide preparation services to pregnant women who are expecting an infant with complex medical, genetic, or developmental abnormalities and needing care in the Children’s Hospital Newborn and Critical Care Unit."
- Long Beach Day Nursery
- L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment
Organizations seeking Atlas foundation funding must first be invited to submit an LOI. This begins with an initial meeting. For a full look at the grantmaking process, click here.