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Mailman Foundation Records

Identifier: MSS097

Scope and Contents

The A. L. Mailman Family Foundation Records contain grant files, administrative files, and program information from 1980-2009, although most of the material dates from 1980-2005. The Records are arranged into the following series: Audio Visual, Board Meetings, Grant Files, Programs, Annual Reports, Board of Directors Meetings Minutes, Correspondence, Contributions, and Scrapbooks. The Audio Visual series contains a variety of materials, from floppy disks to audiocassettes to CD-ROMs, and includes videos and training materials that relate to some of the grant files. Most of the A-V materials are scattered throughout the collection, but the Foundation’s symposium recordings are all housed in box AV-1. The Board Meetings series is small and only contains a few files from the early 1980s. The Grant Files series is extensive and contains application and award information as well as frequent correspondence between the grant recipients and Luba Lynch, the former Executive Director and Secretary of the A. L. Mailman Family Foundation, as well as other staff and board members. The Programs series features symposia programs, publications from grantees, and assorted conference programs and information related to the organizations and projects supported by the Foundation. The Annual Reports series contains miscellaneous annual reports from 1983-1998; see the Separated Materials note for additional copies of annual reports from the A. L. Mailman Foundation. The Board of Directors Meetings Minutes series consists of minutes, notes, and agendas from A. L. Mailman Family Foundation Board of Directors meetings held between January 1984 and October 2007. The Correspondence series contains letters and emails, mostly from the early 2000s, exchanged between board members, grant writers, and symposium speakers, among others. The Contributions series contains information and records about the Foundation’s contributions to various entities, such as reproductive rights and violence prevention organizations. Finally, the Scrapbooks series consists of two large scrapbooks, one of which contains photographs from A. L. Mailman Family Foundation symposia from 1984-1998; the other scrapbook features newspaper and article clippings about Dr. Segal’s publications and the Foundation’s work.


  • 1980 - 2009


Language of Materials

Primary language is English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public with the exception of Box 59, folder 3, which contains personal information; Box 54, folders 6-8, Box 55, folders 8-16, and Box 60, folder 4, which contain personal and/or tax information.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright laws of the Unites States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical / Historical

The A. L. Mailman Family Foundation was established in 1980 as a successor foundation to the Mailman Foundation. The Mailman Foundation had been created in 1943 by brothers Joseph and Abraham Mailman, who used their business assets to fund several philanthropic organizations together. However, before Abe Mailman’s death in 1980, the brothers decided to split their assets so that each of their families could pursue and establish their own philanthropies. Dr. Marilyn Mailman Segal, Abe Mailman’s daughter, was already deeply involved in the field of early childhood development and encouraged her father to make young children the focus of his new foundation; she became the first chair of the A. L. Mailman Foundation and remained a chair emeritus until her death in 2014. According to its (now-defunct) website and annual reports, the Foundation’s mission is “to enhance the ability of families and communities to nurture their children. We believe that the most effective way to fulfill this mission is by focusing on early childhood.” In 1992, the Foundation adopted the banyan tree as its logo, explaining that just as the tree is known for “sprouting adventitious roots from its branches..., enabling the tree to spread in an ever-widening circle,” so too do the Foundation’s projects “strengthen [their] mission and expand [their] vision.”

The A. L. Mailman Foundation is considered a 501(c)(3) private nonoperating organization. Although the mission of the foundation has remained constant throughout the organization’s lifetime, there have been various grant-making phases as the organization has expanded its focus and collaborated with other funders in order to accomplish strategic projects. In the early 1980s, the Foundation mostly awarded grants to organizations focused on applied research and model program development. However, the Foundation soon realized that, although the grants and programs were successful, it was challenging to recreate such model programs in unideal or unprepared environments. Therefore, the Foundation entered into its second grant-making phase, in which it began to support projects and products that informed public policy and encouraged the development of environments suitable for model programs. Although this phase was also successful, the directors of the Foundation realized that the work of the Foundation and its grantees could only accomplish so much before being compromised by systemic issues within society such as poverty, racism, and violence. At this stage, the Foundation decided to address these issues by partnering with other organizations in order to research and enact violence prevention strategies and prioritizing projects and grants that tackle systemic issues, all while continuing to support early childhood education, care, and development. Some of the major organizations which the Foundation has funded and collaborated with include the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the Families & Work Institute, the Food Research and Action Center, Nova Southeastern University’s Family Center, and Zero to Three (National Center for Clinical Infant Programs).

Although the A. L. Mailman Family Foundation is still in existence, it appears to have undergone some changes in recent years. The domain for its website, formerly, is no longer active (as of late 2013) and, according to recent 990-PF tax forms (available via Guidestar and ProPublica), the Foundation “only makes contributions to preselected charitable organizations and does not accept unsolicited requests for funds.”


60.5 Cubic Feet (61 containers - 60 record cartons, 1 oversized box, plus 1 AV (MDPI) box) : AV-1 (MDPI box) - 15 audio cassettes, 1 CD-R


The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation was established in 1980 as a private, successor organization to the Mailman Foundation, which was founded by Abraham and Joseph Mailman in 1943. The foundation, named for Abe Mailman and originally chaired by his daughter, Dr. Marilyn Mailman Segal, provides grant funding for projects and programs concerning early childhood education and development. Initially, the Foundation’s early grants supported applied research and model programs, but based on feedback and replication issues, the Foundation began to focus on products and practices intended to inform public policy. In 1993, the Directors of the Foundation decided to proactively address larger societal issues, such as racism, violence, and poverty, in addition to their continued support for early childhood education and family care. The Mailman Foundation Records contain board meeting minutes, symposia memorabilia, annual reports and administrative files, grant files and related publications, records of contributions, and correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by the Mailman Family Foundation, July 2011. Includes accession A2011/2012-014.

Separated Materials

Annual Reports for years 1983-1999 in Foundation Center Collection, LL (Mss 005.A0051), 10 items: 1983-1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999.


Information for Historical Note, Abstract retrieved from: 1992, 1993, 1999 annual reports; A. L. Mailman Family website (now defunct, accessed via Wayback Machine): ; “A. L. Mailman Family Foundation Inc - Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica, 9 May 2013, ; Guidestar. (February 12, 2020). A L MAILMAN FAMILY FOUNDATION INC. ; Marilyn Mailman Segal obituary:


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Mailman Foundation Records, 1980-2005
In Progress
Processed by Claire Drone-Silvers.
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-10: Claire Drone-Silvers

Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA