About the Foundation

History of The Foundation

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The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation 

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization registered in Illinois. It was created on December 20, 1990 with the filing of Articles of Incorporation in Illinois. The Foundation was initially the idea of Fellow Donn Fullenwider who introduced the motion for the Academy to create a Foundation. The Foundation began with the expenditure of $5,000 authorized by the Academy Board of Governors. Margaret Travers, Joy Feinberg and Arnie Rutkin were charged with the effort to develop a mission statement.  The Foundation’s first President was Joe DuCanto followed by Margaret Travers, Michael Ostrow, Beverly Groner, Leonard Loeb, Joy Feinberg and Michael Albano, all luminaries of the Academy and the inspiration for those who later served as President.

Since its creation, the Foundation’s mission has been providing financial assistance through grants, to help families and, particularly children, negatively impacted by the breakup of the family unit—whether that breakup be the result of physical or mental abuse, substance abuse, financial devastation, abandonment, or mental illness. Whatever the cause, the Foundation is there to help with the aftermath.

In 1992, the Foundation had investible assets of just over $80,000. Over the next almost 30 years, that investment base grew to over $2,600,000. Through decades of innovative ideas, dedication, volunteerism, fundraising and planned giving, and the generosity of so many sponsors of the Foundation has given over $1.8 million nationwide in grants to organizations whose mission is also to protect families and children.

Mission Statement

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which advances one of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers’ most important goals of protecting families, particularly children.  The purpose of the Foundation is to provide financial assistance to organizations, by way of grants, in order to help families, particularly the children, adversely affected by the breakup of the family unit.  This mission is accomplished by supporting projects pertaining to children in custody  disputes, dependency and similar situations; supporting programs in schools, courts and organizations that help children cope with the breakup of families; teaching parental caregivers how to co-parent effectively; providing counseling to children of families experiencing domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness; supporting relationship enrichment programs to help prevent the breakup of families; supporting pro bono and low-cost family law legal representation and ancillary mental health services, for both indigent clients and their children, who are adversely affected by the breakup of the family unit; and supporting innovation, research and education consistent with this Mission Statement.

To learn how to both donate to the Foundation or to apply on behalf of your organization for a grant, please see Donating or Grant Application.

For more information on the history of the Foundation, and its founders and leaders, please see The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Foundation—A Historical Perspective. For more information on the charitable work of The Foundation, see our 2019 Annual Report.

Please make the Foundation your first choice in giving.