Lauder Family Giving Circle

Laura and Gary Lauder adhere to the Torah’s commandment that it is the responsibility of each generation to give back to the community in pursuit of making the world a better place. They understand that it is their responsibility to teach and engage their two children, Josh and Eliana, in the tradition of giving and in the mitzvah of tzedakah.

Laura’s motto is: “This is not about getting our kids involved in our foundation, but getting us all involved in philanthropy together.”

The typical model of engaging the younger generation in family philanthropy has been to invite family members to join their parents’ foundation boards in an apprentice-style capacity. Laura and Gary take a different approach to inter-generational philanthropy. In 2011, Laura conceived of the Lauder Family Giving Circle to bring together family members working side-by-side as equal partners in philanthropy.

There is a growing interest in giving circles where groups of individuals donate their money and time to a pooled fund, decide together where to give the money, and increase their awareness of and engagement with various issues. The Lauder Family Giving Circle is based on Josh and Eliana’s experience volunteering on the Jewish Teen Foundation Board where they worked with 23 other teens to make philanthropic decisions based on consensus-building discussions.


Each year, Josh and Eliana select a topic for the Lauder Family Giving Circle and contribute their own bar/bat mitzvah money toward the grantmaking pool, which is then matched by Laura and Gary. Josh and Eliana take turns leading the grant round. To encourage others to engage in family philanthropy, the Lauders invite friends and extended family members to participate in the Lauder Family Giving Circle board meeting each year. Together, they review multiple proposals and award grants through a comprehensive, thoughtful, and engaging board meeting process.

Grants have been awarded to support and promote early childhood literacy, provide job training, and help alleviate poverty. The following is a list of grants by topic area:


$15,000 to Anti-Recidivism Coalition to establish a fund for Bay Area members to support their educational, employment and personal success
$5,000 to Essie Justice Group to help launch a new Essie Sisters Cohort in Santa Clara County
$10,000 to the Glide Foundation for the Rabbi at Glide – San Francisco Redemption Project
$10,000 to Project Rebound to support formerly incarcerated students at San Francisco State University
$25,000 to Prosecutor Impact to help launch a curriculum in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at San Quentin State Prison and lay the groundwork for a broader implementation strategy in the region
$10,000 grant to Silicon Valley De-Bug to support their Participatory Defense work
$10,000 grant to Young Women’s Freedom Center to convene criminal justice reform leaders and formerly incarcerated girls and women from San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Alameda Counties
$85,000 TOTAL


$5,000 to Ever Forward Club  for marketing collateral and website upgrades
$5,000 to Experience Corps Bay Area for Selby Lane Elementary School in Redwood City School District
$5,000 to Girls Leadership to pilot a workshop for girls and their parents/caregivers in a low-income school/organization in San Mateo County
$5,000 to JobTrain for Youth Services Program
$5,000 to TeenForce  for STEM Training Program
$5,000 to Ten Gav to fund individuals’ needs
$20,000 to The Good People Fund for the following projects:
– $5,000 is for Gideon Ben-Ami’s Forgotten Hunger program
– $5,000 is for Humans and Animals in Mutual Assistance
– $5,000 is for Kaima Kids
– $5,000 is for Yotsrot Women’s Empowerment/Turning the Tables
$50,000 TOTAL


$7,194 to Ten Gav ($2,000 to upgrade their website, $5,194 to fund individuals’ needs)
$30,000 to The Good People Fund for the following projects:
– $5,000 for Gideon Ben-Ami’s Forgotten Hunger program
– $5,000 for the Yotsrot Women’s Empowerment/Turning the Tables
– $5,000 is for the Gan Felicia nursery school
– $5,000 is for the SAHI Kids program
– $5,000 is for the Forgotten People Fund for Poverty
– $5,000 is for the Sundara Fund for Kids in Mumbai and Myanmar
$37,194 TOTAL


$12,500 to Experience Corps Bay Area for general support
$12,500 to Jewish Coalition for Literacy for general support
$12,500 to Reach Out and Read for the San Francisco Bay Area Program
$12,500 to 826 Valencia for general support
$50,000 TOTAL


$5,000 to HIP Housing for Self Sufficiency Program
$15,000 to Jewish Vocational Service for Employment Services in San Mateo County
$14,000 to Job Train for Youth Services Program
$16,000 to Teen Force for general support
$50,000 TOTAL


$10,000 to Inn Vision & Shelter Network to assist families in overcoming homelessness
$15,000 to Jewish Family and Children’s Services to help up single parent families
$10,000 to Jewish Vocational Service to offer job skills workshops
$15,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank to provide weekly bags of groceries to needy families
$50,000 TOTAL