Changing the Lives of Those in Extreme Poverty by Providing Access to Opportunities to Achieve Success

By providing access to workforce training, education, the arts and facilities, while preserving culture around the world, the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation helps people rise out of extreme poverty to become self-sufficient.

Our Vision

Our Vision

The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation’s vision is to promote the empowerment of the impoverished by investing in domestic and global initiatives as well as entrepreneurial programs that will lead to people finding success as they strive to achieve their goals.  Working in collaboration with organizational partners, the Foundation provides opportunities by creating pathways to training and education that will ultimately lead to an individual’s success. The Foundation is also focused on investing in the performing arts and preserving culture and history, as investments in these areas will enhance people’s lives around the world.


Our Giving Pledge and Commitment to Philanthropy

With the support of my husband, Rick, we have lived our lives championing those who may be overlooked or need a second chance. Signing the Giving Pledge is simply formalizing our belief that it is our privilege to help others because we are the ones that truly benefit by doing so.
Read our Giving Pledge >

Recently Funded Programs

Computer Training Income Building Program

The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation recently funded the establishment of a Computer Income Building Program at Women in Need (Win) of New York City, a homeless shelter for women and children.  The program is an extension of Win’s income building training and will positively impact ~80 women on an annual basis. The program was funded by a grant from the FAL Foundation in partnership with the United Nations Federal Credit Union Foundation.
Discover one woman's story here >

Thanks from Alice

"Thank you for giving me the privilege to benefit from an American education and for helping the talent of women to shine from your wings; now I have a reason to live through financial independence."

// Wesleyan University Class of 2022
Thomas Steele

“Our ships have completed their scan of the area and found nothing. If the Millennium Falcon went into light-speed, it'll be on the other side of the galaxy by now.”

// Entrepreneur
Maude Young

“Our ships have completed their scan of the area and found nothing. If the Millennium Falcon went into light-speed, it'll be on the other side of the galaxy by now.”

// Designer at Google
Recently funded projects

Grace Institute Training Program Assistance

The Foundation has entered into an agreement with the Grace Institute of New York City and has provided books for their training programs.  The Grace Institute's workplace development programs are designed to support women who are working towards elevating themselves out of poverty by helping those who were once "invisible" become visible, productive workers.

About the Founder

Meet Francine A. LeFrak

Francine LeFrak is a social entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist. In 2008, Francine founded Same Sky, a jewelry initiative that provides training and employment to women survivors of the Rwandan Genocide who are living with HIV/AIDS. Francine offers women a hand-up, not a handout, by providing them with the dignity of work and the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. In addition to work abroad, Same Sky now provides employment to women who have recently been released from HudsonCounty Jail helping them to re-enter society.  

Before her work as a social entrepreneur, Francine had a successful career on Broadway and as a social issues film producer where she garnered multiple Tony, Emmy, and Peabody awards. Francine also serves as CEO of the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Foundation, which supports institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and cultural institutions. She is a founder of The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation and The Same Sky Foundation that aim to eradicate poverty through employment and encourage community-led solutions to promote women’s empowerment in the developing world and in America.

In recognition of Francine’s commitment to empowering women, she has been honored with a number of awards including the UNWomen For Peace Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Franca Sozzani Award presented by Fashion4Development, the Women Together Award presented at the UN for micro-finance, and the “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor as presented by the French government. Francine is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post’s Impact and What’s Working sections where she is a leading voice in the ethical shopping movement. She is the Chair Emerita of the Women’sLeadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School, a body of influential women leaders that advance issues related to gender equality and gender research. Francine holds Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Manhattanville College and from Mount Ida College.

Contact Us

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