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New York Philanthropic :: Philanthropists :: Institutions :: • The Wallace Foundation
The Wallace Foundation

The Wallace Foundation, nationally recognized for its involvement in educational and cultural programs, traces its origins back a half-century to the philanthropic impulses of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association.

Throughout their professional careers and in later years, DeWitt and Lila Wallace dedicated themselves to improving other people’s lives. Giving freely of their time and of the wealth amassed from the company they founded, both led lives of service through their support of a range of causes, especially in the arts and education.

In the 1950s, they established a group of family philanthropies that evolved in the 1980s into two foundations bearing their names: the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.Together, these philanthropies provided nearly $2 billion in support to a wide variety of artistic, cultural and educational causes. In 2003, the two separate foundations were legally merged and renamed The Wallace Foundation, with headquarters in New York City. In that year the Foundation also completed the decade-long process of divesting all of its Reader’s Digest stock, its primary bequest from the Wallaces.

Compared with other national foundations, Wallace is still young. It was only in 1990 that the Foundation began to realize significant asset growth and increase the size of its professional staff. Today, our assets total approximately $1.1 billion.

True to Lila and DeWitt Wallace’s passions for learning and the arts, the Foundation focuses today on three areas:

• Strengthening education leadership to improve student achievement
• Improving after school learning opportunities
• Building appreciation and demand for the arts