The Marcus Foundation funds and partners with organizations that are making a difference in the delivery of community food resources or are expanding the understanding and implementation of sustainability.
The Foundation understands community food resources to encompass a web of issues related to hunger, including poverty, community development and economic policy.
Sustainability is both a principle and a practice that obliges us to carefully consider the consequences of today's actions on the future.
The Marcus Foundation was created in 2009 when it became independent from The Grace R. and Alan D. Marcus Foundation that was originally founded in 1990. Both foundations continue to share fundamental values, operating principles and commitments.
Alan Marcus, a corporate and estates attorney, worked closely with Theodore P. Halperin and Daniel Soba (original trustees of the Foundation). Mr. Marcus served in the United States Army during World War II, was an avid fisherman, particularly in the Rangeley Lakes in Maine, and an accomplished painter
. He began painting after returning from the War in 1945 because he felt it was a "sort of occupational therapy" (LIFE Magazine, April 5, 1948) and he often produced 20-30 paintings a year. Mr. Marcus was instrumental in organizing art shows though the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Early grantees of the Foundation included 92nd Street Y(link is external)
, Museum of the City of New York(link is external)
, the New York Public Library(link is external)
, City Harvest(link is external)
, The Hastings Center(link is external)
, The Humane Society(link is external)
, Natural Resources Defense Council(link is external)
, Riverside Park Fund(link is external)
, and The Riverdale Mental Health Association(link is external)
. In 2009, the Grace R. and Alan D. Marcus Foundation was divided into two separate foundations, one of which is now The Marcus Foundation with office trustees in Denver and Washington DC.
In 2012, The Marcus Foundation began a strategic evaluation of priorities, values, and operations with the goal of leveraging our resources to enhance positive impact. We are committed to addressing issues in sustainability and community food resources with partners whose values and professional working styles are compatible with ours.
Leadership and Governance
Amy Halperin Wood and Jonathan J. Halperin serve as trustees of The Marcus Foundation. Summaries of their relevant professional experiences are below.
Amy Halperin Wood
was most recently the Director of Public Policy at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of Colorado(link is external)
where she managed advocacy and policy liaison, collaboration among social service agencies and assessment of community needs.
Prior to that she was the Director of the Family Safety Net Program(link is external)
at JFS overseeing emergency assistance for homeless prevention, a food pantry, management of state and federal grants, as well as individualized programs to address self-sufficiency issues. Under her stewardship the Family Safety Net department expanded significantly and became a leader in the community in developing best practices in homeless prevention and food pantry management.
In addition to her current leadership role with The Marcus Foundation, Ms. Wood has also worked at Volunteers of America in Denver, at Group W Cable in New York City and at the DeKalb Farmers' Market and Houston's Restaurants in Atlanta.
She grew up in New York City, attended Swarthmore College (BA), The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA) and the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (MSW).
She believes that ending hunger requires providing immediate food resources, encouraging self-sufficiency and making fundamental and operational changes in the food distribution system.
Ms. Wood lives in Denver and has two sons.
Jonathan J. Halperin
is founder and President of Designing Sustainability(link is external)
. He collaborates with business executives, nonprofit and public policy leaders, and creative media producers - designing research, communications and strategies to drive sustainability. He has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit and commercial organizations such as SustainAbility, Ltd., Resources for the Future, and FYI Resources for a Changing World.
He has provided research-based strategic counsel to executives at Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, Nestle, Exxon-Mobil, DuPont and other major multinational firms as well as to nonprofit organizations such as GreenHome, Mundo Verde The Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, and Everyday Democracy. He served as executive producer of Hope in a Changing Climate(link is external)
, the award-winning documentary on ecosystem restoration that aired on BBC World.
He is a graduate of Duke University and lives with his two children near Washington, DC.