Mission and Values


The Eugene M. Lang Foundation, a private family foundation, was established in 1963 by the original donor, Eugene M. Lang, to further general philanthropic objectives. Over the succeeding four decades, Lang refined his thinking about philanthropy and focused Foundation giving on creative programs in education from elementary school to higher education, with secondary emphasis on the performing arts, civic responsibility, and health and social services. In 2014 and 2015, the Foundation’s trustees, including six Lang Family members, considered the values and objectives embedded in this history as imparted to them through their relationship with the Founder, explored the range and focus of their philanthropic interests, and adopted the following mission principles for the Foundation:


Major giving by the Foundation is directed to programs, projects and organizations that honor the Founder’s values. Accordingly, the Foundation prioritizes giving to programs and organizations that are demonstrably creative in concept and excellent in substance; that elevate people’s spirits, goals and capacities above the level of basic needs, primarily through opportunities for meaningful education, participation in the arts and civic activity, and enhanced health education and social services; and that promote inventiveness and entrepreneurship. Foundation grant-making is also informed by the needs and conditions of local and global communities and the effectiveness of the organizations and programs chosen for support.


Within that broad framework, the Foundation concentrates its giving within the geographic parameters of the New York City and Washington D.C. regions. Support may be extended outside these areas to replicate major Foundation initiatives, to implement a global initiative within the Foundation’s fields of interest, or to respond to emergency conditions in under-served areas both within and outside of the United States. Major gifts will generally be directed to programs that accomplish objectives in more than one field of interest and that clearly incorporate the Founder’s values as stated above.


The Foundation will consider funding in the following six fields of interest: education; performing and visual arts; social justice; community and social responsibility; health and social services; and preservation of the natural and built environment. Additionally, it may provide limited support to areas of need which reflect long-standing Lang Family interests, such as civil liberties and Jewish causes. The content and scope of these fields of interest shall be redefined from time to time.