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Vivian B. Allen Foundation (1938–1971)

Prominent Grants: the National Rehabilitation Center at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, the Vivian Beaumont Theater at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Summary: Vivian B. Allen (VBA) Foundation was created in 1938 in New York State by Vivian Beaumont Allen with the stated purpose, “to promote the well-being of mankind in the United States of America and elsewhere in the world, including as a means to that end research, publication, the establishment and maintenance of charitable, benevolent, religious and educational activities, agencies and institutions already established.” Upon Mrs. Allen’s death in 1962, VBA Foundation began to liquidate itself and was dissolved in 1971.

Vivian created the foundation with the dream of continuing the work of her father, a pioneer in medical rehabilitation. She specifically sought to advance the well-being of mankind through the support of medical and nursing education (in the form of scholarships for deserving students), the support of religious and social charities (such as the Salvation Army and numerous Settlement Houses in New York City), and the support of the arts (particularly theater and opera). Two major accomplishments of Mrs. Allen are the National Rehabilitation Center at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, which was built in the memory of her father, and the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which houses the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center.

When Mrs. Allen died in 1962, her daughter Josephine Pope took over leadership of the Foundation and helped to tighten the focus on its giving patterns. In order to meet the stipulations set forth in Mrs. Allen’s will, the Foundation began to limit its donations to strictly medical and nursing education, international student assistance, population control and family planning, and a few social charities. This was a very pronounced move away from the highly personalized pattern of giving to which Mrs. Allen had been prone in earlier years.