OVERVIEW: Although the Santa Fe-based Levinson Foundation has a national and global reach, many of its grantees are based in the Southwest, including parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Most grants are in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, and letters of inquiry are accepted throughout the year.
FUNDING AREAS: Environment, social justice, Jewish culture, Israel
IP TAKE: Environmental causes are the basis of Levinson Foundation grantmaking, so this is a great funder for green groups to know about.
PROFILE: Although the Santa Fe-based Levinson Foundation doesn’t have a specifically designated local program, a significant part of its funding stays in New Mexico and the Southwest. Max Levinson’s roots are in Philadelphia, where he was a successful businessman. The couple established a private Jewish family foundation in their names in 1955.
According to the Grantsmanship Center, the Levinson Foundation is among the top 20 giving foundations in the state of New Mexico. In a recent year, the foundation reported nearly $16 million in assets and over $1.2 million in total giving. Grants have ranged from $200 to $100,000 in the past, and the foundation has been known to give out over 100 grants per year. Most Levinson grants, though, are between $10,000 and $20,000, and go to organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $1 million.
Grantees in New Mexico include the New Energy Economy for a New Mexico Climate & Energy Campaign and the NM Wilderness Alliance for wildlands protection at the Middle Fork Gila River and the Gila Wilderness. Other recent grantees in the Southwest include Arizona Rivers to protect the San Pedro River, the Winslow, Arizona-based Dine Citizens Against Ruining our Environment, the Kykotsmovi, Arizona-based Black Mesa Trust, and the El Paso, Texas-based Tierra Nativa.
Elsewhere in the country, grantmaking occasionally flows where Levinson family members live and work. For example, Gordon Levinson of the Levinson Law Group, a North San Diego County personal injury and wrongful death law firm, has served as a director. San Diego and parts of California regularly see Levinson Foundation support, too, including grants to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in San Diego, The San Diego Foundation, and the YMCA Youth and Family Services in San Diego. But overall, the foundation maintains a national and global reach.
Levinson’s support for environmental causes is largely focused on protecting ecosystems, biological diversity, alternative energy, alternative agriculture, and climate change. This is a funder that likes to see new practical alternative solutions to common problems, rather than sticking by the status quo.
But in the past, the foundation has also been known to consider funding activities related to public education, organizational building and development, and advocacy efforts. The foundation has a social grantmaking portfolio that includes causes like human rights, immigration reform, drug policy, alternative media, youth leadership development, and social justice. There’s also a significant Jewish interest aspect to Levinson’s grantmaking, and such grantmaking is centered on Jewish culture, community, and Yiddish language. The foundation practices Tzedakah, which translates to wise, understanding, and generous giving.
Although the Levinson Foundation accepts full grant proposals by invitation only, you can submit a letter of inquiry at any time. Descendants of Max and Anna Levinson typically sit on the board of foundation directors, as well as some unrelated field experts. Your best point of contact is foundation president, Charlotte Levinson, who can be reached at 505-995-8802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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