Jeffrey and Tondra Lynford | Statement of Philanthropy

The Lynford Family Charitable Trust was incorporated in New York in 1984 and its sister charity, The Lynford Family Fund, was established at the New York Community Trust in 1988 (the “Lynford Trusts” or the “Trusts”). The Lynford Trusts have been the primary vehicles for philanthropic giving by Jeffrey and Tondra Lynford. Since inception, over 1,000 not-for-profit organizations have received financial support, but only a few representative examples will be discussed below.

The Trusts have adopted a philosophy of charitable giving based on two simple considerations:

  • A charitable request should fall within one of the following four broadly defined “target” areas of giving: education and health, historic preservation and environmental conservation, the performing and visual arts, and research relating to public policy issues.
  • Smaller, “grass roots” organizations with limited access to financial resources receive special consideration, because a modest grant to such recipients could have a meaningful impact on their efforts. Further, priority is given to those organizations where a Lynford family member has a “hands-on” or “value-added” relationship.

Education and Health
In 1983 Tondra Lynford co-founded Resources for Children with Special Needs, Inc. (“Resources”) in her kitchen with two other mothers. Resources has helped more than 200,000 people find and obtain programs and services for children with learning, developmental, emotional and physical disabilities. Thus education and health issues are of great interest.

As parents of an autistic daughter, the Lynfords have supported many organizations that focus in this area of special concern. Tondra has served as President of the Board of Directors of Vista Vocational and Life Skills, Inc. which provides services to a 150-member special needs community situated in Westbrook, Connecticut. Jeffrey has served as Chairman of both its Endowment Campaign and its Real Estate Committee. In 2001 he received Vista’s President’s Award for his efforts on its behalf. In 2005 Tondra received the Caregiver of the Year Award from the New York Chapter of United Cerebral Palsy for her co-founding of Resources.

Currently Tondra Lynford Serves on the Board of Directors of the Anderson Foundation for Autism which provides the highest quality programs possible for children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. Equally important is its commitment to maintain an ongoing education and support network for their families and guardians.

The Trusts have funded both domestic and international efforts in education and health. They have established graduate fellowship programs at Princeton University and the Weill Cornell Medical School. At Weill Cornell, the program provides travel funds to enable recipients to obtain educational/medical experiences in developing countries. Annually, at least two medical students (one male and one female) are posted to nations where they can assist indigent patients and the need for modern medical care is the most pressing. Most recently, this program has supported the efforts of five medical students abroad. Also, the Trusts have provided funds to assist in the establishment of medical clinics in remote overseas locations and created endowments at institutions which support music, mathematics, and medical education, including the Institute of Mathematics and Supercomputing (“IMAS”) at Polytechnic Institute of NYU in Brooklyn, New York.

Historic Preservation
Since the early 1980’s, as an investment banker on Wall Street, Jeffrey Lynford has been active in financing historic restoration projects across the United States. In 1987 he was elected a trustee of the U. S. National Trust for Historic Preservation (“NTHP”) and in 1996 an emeritus trustee.  

In 2002, Jeffrey was asked by NTHP to serve as its ex officio representative on the Board of Directors of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.  In 2004, he was elected a director, and subsequently was asked to serve as the Vice Chairman, of the Global Heritage Fund which protects historic cultural landmarks in developing nations. The Lynford Trusts have supported GHF initiatives in China, Guatemala, India, Laos, Peru, and Vietnam.

Performing and Visual Arts
Both Tondra and Jeffrey Lynford have supported the arts for many years. Sequentially, each has served as a trustee of the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, located in Katonah, NY, which offers a range of orchestral, operatic and chamber music concerts. The Trusts have provided funding for its “Rising Star” program, which brings gifted young musicians to summer master classes at Caramoor.  Jeffrey has also served as Chairman of the Eos Orchestra of New York City.

The Polytechnic Institute of NYU, where Jeffrey currently serves as Vice Chairman, has been the recipient of “Balanced Cylinders,” a 28-foot high, 10 ton metal sculpture which has been placed outdoors at the entry to its campus.

In conjunction with “Women Make Movies,” a national non-profit media arts organization, the Trusts have funded the production of a documentary entitled Thread. This film chronicles the issues which confront several Afghan women who are attempting to survive in a post-Taliban society by covertly sewing and embroidering in the confines of their homes. It follows these women as they take a life-changing “road trip” from Kabul to New York City to pursue their livelihoods in order to support their families.

Public Policy
Jeffrey Lynford is a graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and has held a life-long interest in public policy issues. To honor his mentor, Professor Marion Levy, Jr., who taught at Princeton for over 50 years, the Trusts have established an annual Ph.D. fellowship bearing Professor Levy’s name.

The Trusts have supported the efforts of many non-profit research organizations including
The Citizens Budget Commission, The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate,
The New Democracy Project, and the Center for American Progress. Further, the Trusts have contributed to specific projects with The Ocean Conservancy, the Milano School for Management and Urban Policy at the New School University, and The Trust for Public Land, to name but a few.