What We Do

"We all have the power to be agents of hope and change.”
francine a. lefrak
A new graduate of the Francine A. LeFrak Computer Training Program shows off her certificate.
what we do

Foundation History

The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation is focused on finding solutions to provide opportunities for those who seek it. We believe that “Talent is Everywhere BUT Opportunity is Not,” and that if everyone used their personal talents to help others find opportunity, the world would be a better place.

We are a foundation that helps people become self-sufficient and achieve their personal goals. We don’t believe in providing funds and walking away; we are physically present every step of the way as we work alongside grant recipients, track progress and change lives.

Founded in 2009, our work around the globe has focused on the marginalized, including those living in extreme poverty, the homeless, women who survived the Rwandan genocide, human trafficking victims and those who have been in the justice system. Today, we have scaled our work to impact hundreds of individuals on an annual basis.

The programs we invest in are designed to provide a hand-up, not a hand-out, and have included skill building in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, business, computers and technology, and artisanal skills.  All of our skill building investments have been seen as innovative ways to focus on income-building initiatives for these marginalized groups. We have also successfully introduced microgrant programs to eliminate an individual’s barrier to success. We also believe in supporting culture, history and the performing arts as a means to enhance people’s lives and expand their education.

Our hands-on approach to providing access to opportunities has helped us work directly with those who need a second chance or to have a door opened. Here are some of the milestones from the programs we support:

Workforce Development

200 residents of homeless shelters in Brooklyn and East Harlem received computer skills that will help them get jobs with upward mobility, helping them and their families rise out of poverty.

100 women in the Bronx received high-level, competitive tech training, and will be supported through the Same Sky Ambassador mentoring program.

150 women who are in the justice system in New Jersey will participate in a program to develop business skills, entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy.


300 low-income women received microgrants, access to a food pantry and books for their training program to become administrative professionals or private healthcare aides.

100 low-income women, including women who have been in the justice system, received microgrants to attend financial literacy training and business coaching in Harlem.

24 students from East Africa have been named LeFrak-Friedberg Scholars. These talented young people are part of the Bridge 2 Rwanda program that gives them the opportunity to study at renowned universities in the US preparing them for successful careers in engineering, business, international relations, agriculture, and medicine to return home and better their communities. LeFrak-Friedberg Scholars are chosen not only for their scholarly achievements but for their character, leadership and commitment to their countries. As part of the program, they participate in an annual conference and receive financial support to pursue new experiences that will enhance their education.

400 students at the Fashion Institute of Technology at risk of not returning to for the spring semester received microgrants to remove economic barriers and help them continue their education and follow their dreams.

Preserving Culture, History & the Performing Arts

10 low-income high school students from inner cities within the United States had access to a summer musical program through the Great American Songbook Foundation in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Capital investment - Operational support to preserve the culture and history of the Central Park Conservancy in New York City.

Infrastructure and operational support for the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Our Bridge2Rwanda scholars gathered for a dinner at the Harvard Club during their recent visit to New York City.
foundation pillars

Our Focus

The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation’s vision is to promote the empowerment of the impoverished by investing in domestic and global initiatives and entrepreneurial programs that will lead to people finding success as they strive to achieve their goals.

Eradicating Poverty

The Foundation uses a hands-on approach to fighting poverty as we work directly with those who need a second chance, who are willing to fight for a new beginning.

There is a crisis in America today with an estimated 42 million people living in poverty. Homelessness, being in the justice system, lack of access to education, domestic violence, and human trafficking create a pathway into poverty.

Through targeted partnerships and active engagement, the Foundation provides funding to organizations that benefit recipients as they strive to achieve success. By providing access to workforce training and job readiness education, the Foundation helps people become self-sufficient and achieve their personal goals. We also provide microgrants to ensure that there are no barriers for attendance that negatively impact participants.

We don’t believe in providing funds and walking away; we are physically present every step of the way as we work alongside recipients, track progress, and change lives.

Education & Training

Access to education and specific business training programs provides individuals with the tools they need to follow their dreams.  

Our goal is to work with partners who offer the supports and knowledge that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.

This pillar supports the LeFrak-Friedberg Scholars program which works directly with talented and highly ambitious students from East Africa that are attending a university in the United States. The Scholars Program is focused on mentoring, leadership opportunities and the resources that the students need for experiential learning experiences and research projects in anticipation of returning to their home countries and improving their communities.  

The training component of this pillar takes the job readiness and workforce development programs to a new level. We specifically work with organizations to provide business and entrepreneurial skill development classes for women in the justice system or women who have a dream to start a business.  We also provide microgrants to ensure that there are no barriers for attendance that negatively impact participants.

Much like our other grants and programs, we do not believe in simply providing funds and walking away. We remain fully engaged with each program and their participants.  We are physically present every step of the way as we work alongside recipients, track progress, and change lives.

Preserving Culture, History & the Performing Arts

The Foundation’s goal is to ensure that individuals are exposed to the Performing Arts to enhance their ability to think creatively and differently while having the chance to appreciate their culture and history in an effort to understand the lessons learned.

Providing support so that communities and cultures are not negatively impacted by environmental changes, but instead can learn how to live with and address these changes while still respecting the environment in which they are operating and living.

It also provides an avenue to preserve artistic culture and important physical landmarks that tell the historical story of a location and its people.

The Performing Arts helps to develop one’s mind and expand their thinking in ways not always capitalized on with traditional education. The investment in the Performing Arts will recognize and celebrate various people or organizations that will provide opportunity for all to experience the arts in some fashion.

Coming from a family that is artistic and musical, our founder, Francine A. LeFrak, feels strongly that preserving culture, history and the performing arts enhances people’s lives around the world.

foundation news

Our Recently Funded Programs

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.

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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.

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Through targeted partnerships with organizations, we provide access to training, education, the arts and facilities.

meet the grantees