The Lawrence Foundation is a private family foundation focused on making grants to support environmental, education, human services and other causes.
Jeff Lawrence co-founded Trillium Digital Systems in 1988. Trillium was headquartered in Los Angeles, California and developed and licensed communications software to communications equipment manufacturers throughout the world. Intel Corporation acquired Trillium in August 2000. Jeff left Intel Corporation in 2002 and is currently at Clivia Systems. Jeff Lawrence and Diane Troth (husband and wife), established the Lawrence Foundation in 2000 with some of the proceeds received from the acquisition by Intel. They feel it is important to give something back and support organizations that are trying to make the world a better place.
The Lawrence Foundation assets are currently about $3.7 million. In 2007, there were over 37,000 family foundations in the U.S. and 59 percent of those family foundations had assets of less than $1 million. (source: Foundation Center, Key Facts on Family Foundations).
We currently receive over 400 grant requests per year. The average family foundation receives about 150 grant requests per year (source: ASF). We are, unfortunately, only able to fund about 5% (by number, not dollars) of the requests that we receive.
We have made over 200 grants and commitments worth over $3 million since our inception. We have made both program and operating grants and in one case also directly sponsored, organized and hosted a workshop that brought together academics, non-profits and funders to explore the issue of environmental economics. Our grants have been primarily for environmental, human services and other causes. By way of comparison, the top 4 areas of family foundation grant making in the U.S. are education, human services, health and the arts and culture (source: ASF).
Grants Made by All Family Foundations
|Arts, culture, humanities||$219,627||9.8%|
|Public / society benefit||$134,466||6.0%|
|Environment and animals||$127,742||5.7%|
|Science and technology||$29,134||1.3%|
|Social science, public policy||$17,929||0.8%|
|International / foreign affairs||$15,688||0.7%|
Source: ASF, 2003 for 2002
Our initial mission statement was fairly broad and is becoming more narrowly focused as we learn what value we can bring to the non-profit world. Our grants now tend towards supporting environmental and human services and other causes. Our initial grants were generally unsolicited one year program grants. We have been moving towards making more multi-year program and operating grants. As we gain a better understanding of the issues that we think are important we will begin to solicit organizations directly for grant requests.
A summary of about the foundation and its activities is available in the Fact Sheet. The Annual Letters describe our foundation?s past years events and future years planned activities. A background about our experience of forming and running a family foundation, as well as our views about the future direction of philanthropy is available at: The Game of Philanthropy.