Laura Lauder is a native of Canton, Ohio and journeyed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Seville, Spain for her undergraduate education. In 1992, she joined her husband Gary in their venture capital partnership, Lauder Partners, specializing in Internet and media investments.
Laura now primarily focuses her efforts on strategic grantmaking through the Laura and Gary Lauder Family Venture Philanthropy Fund and in numerous leadership capacities at local and national nonprofit organizations.
Laura is a nonprofit entrepreneur. She is co-founder of the Center for Media and Democracy in Israel, a nonprofit and non-partisan independent news organization that promotes democratic discourse through investigative journalism. She is the founder of DeLeT: Day School Teaching through Leadership, a national Jewish Teach for America type program, and co-founder of the Jewish Teen Funders Network’s Foundation Board Incubator that develops community-based teen philanthropy programs throughout North America, Australia, and Israel. Laura is the founder of the Gap Year program at Duke University that seeks to encourage young people to take a gap year between high school and college to grow, explore, and serve. Together, Laura and Gary co-founded the Socrates Program of the Aspen Institute, which has convened over 6,000 young leaders worldwide to Aspen to participate in seminars and salons on the most difficult issues of the day.
Laura also serves on numerous nonprofit boards. She is chair of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of San Francisco, serves on the Advisory Board of Service Year Alliance that creates opportunities for young adults to serve their country through a year of full-time community service, on the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute, and on the National Constitution Center Board of Directors, among others. She has previously served on the boards of the National Public Radio Foundation and Spark Networks — a NYSE Amex Company and parent of JDate.
Laura is active with the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO/WPO), a global leadership network and is a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was named one of “10 Women to Watch” by Jewish Woman magazine in 2004. She has won numerous awards, including Volunteer of the Year from the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation in 2011, the Jim Brooks Achievement Award in 2004, and the San Francisco Bay Area Dinkelspiel Young Leadership Award in 1999.
Laura is an avid cyclist and won a bronze medal in the Maccabi Games in Israel in cycling time trial in 2009. While she is a political junkie, she hopes to never run for political office, but is willing to climb any mountain on a bike. She and Gary live in Silicon Valley and have two children who are young adults.
Nonprofit Boards and Committees on which Laura currently serves:
- Center for Media and Democracy in Israel – Co-Founder (Tel Aviv)
- Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund of San Francisco – Chair, Endowment Committee
- Foundation Board Incubator (through Jewish Teen Funders Network) – Co-Founder (NYC)
- Jim Joseph Foundation – Board of Directors (San Francisco)
- The Ronald S. Lauder Foundation – Board of Directors (NYC)
- DeLeT Alumni Network (through Hebrew Union College) – Founder (Los Angeles)
- AIPAC – NW Regional Board (San Francisco)
- National Constitution Center – Board of Directors; Chair, Education Committee (Philadelphia)
- Aspen Institute – Board of Trustees; Chair, Socrates Program Sub-Committee (Washington, DC)
- Social Finance – Board of Directors (Boston)
- Service Year Exchange, Inc (DBA: Service Year Alliance) – Co-chair; Serve America Together (Washington, DC)
- Bernard Osher Foundation – Board of Directors (San Francisco)