NET WORTH: $20 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Television Host, Singer
FUNDING AREAS: Religious Institutions, Children, Health
OVERVIEW: Kathie Lee Gifford moves her philanthropy through the Gifford Family Foundation, which was formerly called the Cody Foundation. Gifford's philanthropy focuses on religious causes and institutions, children, health and more.
BACKGROUND: Kathie Lee Gifford was born in Paris, France. Her father was an American naval officer and her mother was a naval secretary turned radio singer. The family returned to the states in the late 1950s. Gifford became a Christian singer and later attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After leaving school, Gifford went on to cut several gospel albums, and appeared on religious television shows, including The 700 Club. While visiting the set of the soap opera Days of Our Lives, she was hired to play Nurse Callahan. She went on to Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, from 1985 to 2000, which earned her 11 Daytime Emmy nominations.
RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS: Given Gifford's background—she became a born-again Christian at age 12—it's no surprise that some of the philanthropy through the Gifford Family Foundation has involved supporting Christian religious outfits. The foundation's grantmaking has supported places like Protestant Foundation of the Ocean Leaf Chapel in Florida; Harvest Center, a religious center in the Bronx; New York Dream Center; and Jack Hayford Ministries. It's also worth noting that Gifford has supported Life Pacific College in San Dimas, which was originally founded in Los Angeles as Echo Park Evangelistic and Missionary Training Institute.
CHILDREN & YOUTH: Gifford has had a long relationship with the Manhattan-based Association to Benefit Children (ABC), which was created to "amplify the voices of defenseless children by combating the debilitating effects of poverty and championing the right of every child to a joyful and nurturing childhood." Through ABC, Gifford has helped create two centers. One is called Cody House, a "transitional home for parentless infants and children with serious disabilities and medical problems." The other is Cassidy's Place, which, among other things "provides a day care center for homeless children, and nursery care for children afflicted with HIV and AIDS." As well as supporting these two outfits, Gifford has supported places like Childhelp, "a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse" ; St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital' and the Jimmy Fund, which supports the "fight against cancer in children and adults at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute."
OTHER: The Gifford Family Foundation has also supported anti-poverty and human service outfits such as New York Rescue Mission and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Gifford has also supported Dana's Angel's Research Trust, an organization that funds research on Niemann-Pick Type C disease (NPC) and other similar genetic diseases. NPC is a genetic disorder that prohibits the metabolism of cholesterol and other lipids. Recent sums have also gone to Avon There Film Center in Connecticut, where Gifford lives.
LOOKING FORWARD: It's worth noting that Gifford's husband, Frank, a former football player, recently passed away, so it remains to be seen what impact this will have on the family's philanthropy.
The Gifford Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue for grantseekers to get in touch with the family, but below is an address:
The Gifford Family Foundation
111 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12210