OVERVIEW: In 1999, Alan Fox and his wife Daveen created the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation. It gives out grants mainly in Los Angeles to education, but not just in the traditional way one might expect. The foundation strongly supports youth philanthropy.
FUNDING AREAS: Youth philanthropy, education, arts
IP TAKE: While giving amounts are modest, the main draw to this funder is its unique work in youth philanthropy. The Fox website is very accessible, but unfortunately, unsolicited proposals are no longer accepted.
PROFILE: The Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation is the charitable vehicle of Alan C. Fox and his wife Daveen. Fox is the son of artistic parents. His father, Fred, is a renowned french horn player who has performed at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among others, taught at USC and other schools, and authored a definitive book on brass playing in the 1970s. Fox's mother, for whom the foundation is named, was a musician, artist and teacher.
After graduating from the University of Southern California, Fox worked as a tax supervisor and established his own law firm before founding ACF Property Management, a commercial real estate company currently based in Studio City, California, which has grown to manage more than $1 billion worth of commercial property in eleven states. Perhaps inspired by his upbringing, Fox has also written several books and is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rattle Poetry Journal in Los Angeles. He also serves on the board of the Center for the Healing Arts, and Bright Prospect, a nonprofit which helps at-risk youth in Los Angeles with college preparation.
In 1999, Fox and Daveen founded the Fried C. Fox Family Foundation, which over the years has given away more than $4 million. Its current mission is to "maximize the potential of children and youth in our communities." To that end, not only does the foundation support education and arts outfits in Los Angeles, but it also aims to get youth engaged in philanthropy. To give you an idea of how unique this funder is, it has a junior board consisting of youth ages eight to 18 who can nominate low-dollar grant proposals. And one of the Fox couple's daughters became involved in the foundation when she was just 13.
In 2013, the foundation suspended all unsolicited proposals to focus on youth philanthropy. One current key initiative is Youth Philanthropy Connect, through which the foundation "connects youth boards with their peers and colleagues, and provides educational programs and peer networks that advance youth involvement in philanthropy and develop the personal and professional skills of the next generation philanthropic leaders."
Youth Philanthropy Connect also hosts an annual conference in the Bay Area for youth modeled on professional philanthropy conferences. In 2015, the program is set to partner with youth philanthropy advocates to host five-day session of events in various parts of the country.
The foundation also appears keen on improving the resources and scholarship in this unique space and has partnered with organizations such as the Foundation Center, the National Center for Family Philanthropy and 21/64.
The Fox Foundation's second major initiative is Education By Nature, a collaborative helmed by the Children's Nature Institute in Los Angeles. The mission of the Children's Nature Institute is to "educate children, families and communities through interactive experiences with nature and to inspire respect, responsibility and a connection to the natural environment." In 2012, Children's Nature Institute received $45,000 toward this collaborative, and in 2013 received $100,000.
Apart from these two initiatives, money has also gone to other Los Angeles outfits. In 2013, Bright Prospect in Pomona received around $10,000. Other modest sums have gone to Dramatic Results, an arts education outfit near Long Beach, Inner City Arts, Marlborough School, and Venice Arts. Fox has also supported Environmental Charter Schools in Lawndale, California. On the whole, it appears that arts and environmental education is a high priority. It's worth noting that foundation's former executive director Dana Marcus is a founding member of Environmental Education Funders Collaborative in San Francisco and spearheads the Fox foundation's Education By Nature initiative.
Assorted sums have also gone to Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education in suburban Los Angeles and to the Southwest Chamber Music Society in Pasadena. Given Fox's father, it's interesting that more of Los Angeles' orchestras and symphonies haven't been supported. Beyond Los Angeles and their foundation, Fox and Daveen gave $20 million to the School of Music at University of Arizona. Perhaps higher education grants in music will make their way to Los Angeles, particularly Fox's alma mater, USC.
For all the interesting things going on at the Fox foundation, they no longer accept unsolicited proposals. Still, their website is one of the more accessible you'll find, with updated information and a long list of staff.
- Annie Hernandez, Executive Director
- Alexis Marion, Program Officer
Katherine Westlund Scott Director of Youth Philanthropy, Youth Philanthropy Connect