Resnick Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: The Resnick Foundation focuses its grantmaking on art institutions, including museums and theater companies in the Los Angeles area. A few grants are awarded to education and health organizations, but those are fewer and farther between.

FUNDING AREAS: Art, education, and health

IP TAKE: Lynda Resnick has always had her personal ups and downs with the press. However, her foundation favors the arts scene in Los Angeles.

PROFILE:  If you've ever wondered what a modern Renaissance woman looks like, then read a bit about Lynda R. Resnick. The entrepreneur, businesswoman, writer, and philanthropist made her stamp in the world through a variety of businesses, including Roll Global, FIJI Water, POM Wonderful, Franklin Mint, Teleflora floral wire service, and large industrial nut and citrus farms in California. She recently coauthored a book called Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business, in which she explains her philosophy of making a lot of money while still being a good citizen of the planet.

Clearly, philanthropy is part of being a good citizen in Resnick's eyes, because she's been granting funds to art and medical organizations since the late 1990s. While the foundation's assets of around $38 million may not compare to some other major players in the city, Resnick has been giving away quite a few each year. Some are over $5 million.

In the past and on the high end, CalTech recieved a $5 million grant and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art raked in more than $3 million recently from Resnick. Smaller grants have included $70,000 each to the Gabriella Axelrad Education Foundation and the Usual Suspects Theater Company, both based in Los Angeles. When it comes to Resnick's grantmaking strategy, there's a large disparity between high-dollar grants to well-established institutions and more modest grants to seemingly unknown arts groups.

Resnick has always been a big collector and admirer of fine art, so naturally, most of the foundation's giving revolves around museums. She's both vice chairman of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As if that weren't enough, she's also on the executive board of UCLA Medical Sciences, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. Resnick has come a long way from her anti-war-movement days during the Vietnam era, when she was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Pentagon Papers scandal. Or has she? From allegedly deceptive advertising about cancer-curing agents in pomegranate juice to criticism from environmental groups about the sustainability of bottled water, Resnick always seems to find her way into the spotlight.

Before teaming up with her husband/business partner, Stewart, and boosting their net worth to $4.2 billion, Resnick ran a successful marketing and advertising company. One thing she doesn't care to advertise, though, is what hoops you have to jump through to get your non-profit organization in the running for a grant. The Resnick Foundation doesn't have a website and doesn't invite unsolicited grant proposals to its doorstep.

Oh, and if you want to book Lynda as a speaker for your event, you'll have to go through her booking agent. Your best bet to reach the Resnicks is at their corporate headquarters in Los Angeles by phone at 310-966-5700 or fax at 310-914-4747.

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