the sam initiative

Our objective is to educate and engage donors by investing in community-based organizations that reflect our passions and address the most pressing needs in our community. As a giving circle, we pool our financial resources and expertise to drive social change and non-profit sustainability.

The SAM Initiative Serves as a catalyst to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Los Angeles through engaged philanthropy.

Founded in 2013 by social entrepreneur and philanthropist Mindy Freedman, SAM has evolved into a strong, supportive and responsive community, committed to learning and working together to make a difference. Our fundamental belief is that through collaborative giving we can do far more together than we can do alone.

As of 2019, The SAM Initiative has given over one million dollars in grants to the community, but our collective spirit and network reaches far beyond our grants. Our impact is in the new connections made, the inspired giving of time and money, and the truly immeasurable ripples we have created to strengthen our greater community.

The passion and heart our members has enabled us to give with meaning. We can do far more together than we can alone.
— Mindy Freedman, Founder of The SAM Initiative


The SAM Initiative creates giving opportunities for like-minded women who want to be involved in their community.  We work in partnership with the organizations we fund, delving into their needs, and evaluating how best we can help.  Our members form deeper connections with each other and with the community at large.


The SAM Initiative

SAM uses traditional collaborative giving to focus on improving the lives of women, children, and families in the Greater Los Angeles area.  Our members learn about and engage with the needs of the community, and take ownership of the process of through leadership and subcommittee positions. Our giving cycle, which runs from October through April, includes presentations by organizations, proposal reviews, site visits and due diligence oversight done by members, and an awards ceremony. Members are welcome to choose their own level of participation.


SAM Social Entrepreneurship (SE) is a small, focused collaborative giving model with the vision that market-driven approaches are essential to address large-scale social challenges.  The SAM SE circle was launched in 2015 to invest in nonprofit organizations that use a profit-making business model for sustainability. SAM SE has evolved into a partnership with UCLA Anderson School of Business that promotes new financial and business models for social impact.  SAM SE seeks to build social entrepreneurship from the ground up by sponsoring Impact Week at UCLA Anderson, and allowing the next generation of business leaders to lead the conversation about sector-agnostic social impact.



The members of SAM pool our charitable dollars in order to make the most meaningful philanthropic impact in the Greater Los Angeles area, because we know we can do more together than we can as individuals. We’ve also inspired others to give and to helped move organizations toward greater self-sustainability. To learn more about our previous grants, visit our grants page.


Our Grant Nomination Committee weighs member passions with current pressing issues before making internal selections about which organizations to reach out to for a giving cycle.  The process for these selected nominees includes a grant application, presentations, site visits, and communication with our due diligence committees; so that members can make a cogent analysis of where our grant dollars will have the most impact.