FUNDING AREAS: Art, education, health, environment
CONTACT: (310) 966-5700
IP TAKE: Resnick is a master at marketing and branding, and she's taken these skills to the world of philanthropy. Big-name arts organizations, hospitals, and medical research institutes have the most to gain from the Resnick Family Foundation.
PROFILE: Lynda Resnick is a branding and mass marketing mastermind, and she's found a way to use these skills in the world of philanthropy. Through her business ventures, she made pomegranate juice trendier, mandarin oranges cuter, and water more exotic. Since the 1970s, she and her husband, Stewart, have built up Teleflora flower service, Fiji Water, Franklin Mint, and POM Wonderful. They own huge pistachio, citrus, almond, and pomegranate farms, two wineries, and a large collection of art. They bought several hundred square miles of land in the Oligarch Valley from Mobil and Chevron and transformed the oil business into an agricultural business.
Throughout the couple's partnership and marriage, Stewart has been the financial brain and Lynda has been the creative one. Through their successes, they have created a new standard for agricultural companies in San Joaquin Valley, California. “People see what we have done and they say, ‘Let’s do that, too.’ But they can’t because it’s too expensive,” Stewart said in an interview about his produce. “It’s a tough sale to retailers, too. Wonderful Pistachios took us 20 years.”
Lynda grew up in a affluent Jewish family in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Her family was involved in show business, and she worked a couple acting gigs as a child. After just a brief local college stint, she started her own advertising agency, Lynda Limited, at the age of 19. She was involved in the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War and was even named a co-conspirator in a leaked document scandal with the New York Times. Stewart is Lynda's second husband and they have homes in Beverly Hills and Aspen, Colorado. She authored a best-selling book, Rubies in the Orchard, which reveals her approach to successful branding of fruits, nuts, and juices. Lynda has said that her book promotes transparency, being a good citizen, and giving back to the community.
Despite these intentions, Lynda has been the focus of several controversial campaigns and lawsuits over the years. In the late 1990s, the Resnicks had to settle lawsuits with Tiger Woods and the estate of Princess Diana related to their profiting from the sale of commemorative Franklin Mint collectibles. More recently, she was involved in a lawsuit regarding claims that pomegranate juice could treat prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and heart disease.
Lynda turned her attention to philanthropy in California's Central Valley in 2010. This is the place where most of her companies' employees work and live. Her work there led to the Central Valley Leadership project, which aims to transform low-income communities into agriculturally successful and vibrant ones. This project also focuses on K-12 education initiatives. In 2011, Lynda joined the Women's Foundation of California, which holds summits in small communities to identify local needs and devise solutions. Lynda also supports Aspen-based organizations, like the Aspen Valley Hospital with a $5 million grant towards its capital campaign.
The Resnicks have always been large supporters of art and have donated enough to secure an exhibition space bearing their name at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Lynda also gravitates towards health and environmental causes, like neuropsychiatric hospitals and renewable energy research. Lynda serves on the executive boards of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Aspen Institute, UCLA Medical Sciences, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Bard College awarded her a Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2012.
In conclusion, Lynda Resnick is a master brander, and she's branded her style of philanthropic giving. The Resnick Family Foundation tends to award large grants to well-established organizations in Los Angeles and receive a lot of publicity for doing so. Lynda and Stewart teeter totter between being on the good side and the bad side of publicity. Aside from recent allegations about their profiting from Iran sanctions they lobbied for, the Resnicks' publicly-acclaimed grantmaking is helping them find favor with the nonprofit community and the press.