Jay and Mavis Leno

NET WORTH: $350 million, estimated

SOURCES OF WEALTH: Television Host, Comedian 

FUNDING AREAS: Education, Youth, Women's Rights, Other

OVERVIEW: Jay Leno moves his philanthropy through the JDM Foundation. Grants through the foundation haven't been overwhelming lately, and a little under $200,000 went out of the door in a recent year. The foundation may be giving out of public sight. Leno and his wife Mavis have interests in education, women's rights, animals, and more.

BACKGROUND: Jay Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York. His father was an insurance salesman and his mother was a homemaker. The family later moved to Andover, Massachusetts, where Leno spent his childhood and young adult life. Leno attended Emerson College and graduated with a B.A. in speech therapy in the early 1970s. While in school, Leno performed stand-up comedy in local night clubs, and emceed talent shows for extra money. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation and wrote for the television show Good Times. In 1992, Leno replaced Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show, which in 1995, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Leno's final show aired in February 2014.


EDUCATION: Leno has given to quite a few colleges and universities, and much of this recent grantmaking hasn't even featured his alma mater Emerson, at least from recent 990s. The Lenos have steadily supported Middlesex Community College in Bedford, Massachusetts, where they've supported scholarships. Other grantees have included Mount Holyoke College,  Boston University, McPherson College, and Northeastern University. Leno has a longtime penchant for cars, and in Kansas, the McPherson College Automotive Restoration Technology program has received support from Leno for years. 

WOMEN'S RIGHTS: Leno's wife Mavis takes the lead in this area as a prominent feminist in California. The Lenos has steadily supported Feminist Majority Foundation, where Mavis sits on the board and chairs the Feminist Majority’s Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls. Other grantees have included Equality Now, an "international human rights organization dedicated to action for the civil, political, economic and social rights of girls and women." 

OTHER: The Lenos have supported health organizations like Huntsville Hospital Foundation and Health for Everyone. Leno has also supported Painted Turtle Camp, which offers camp-based programming for youth with serious medical conditions. Grantmaking has also included support of community arts programs. 

LOOKING FORWARD: Expect the Leno family's steady philanthropy to continue, tracking with their established interest areas. 


The JDM Foundation doesn't have a clear avenue for grantseekers to get in touch with Leno, but below is an address:

JDM Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 7885
Burbank, CA 91510