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.

Our collective spirit and network reaches far beyond our grants. As of 2018, our contribution to the community totals over one million dollars.

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
Smaller Donation Commitment
4 Meetings

SAM focuses on improving the lives of women, children, and families in the Greater Los Angeles area.  There are four meetings per cycle, and more opportunities for further involvement through leadership and subcommittee positions. The process includes presentations by organizations, proposal reviews, site visits and due diligence oversight done by members, and an awards ceremony. Committee participation is optional and members may join at any point in the giving cycle, which runs from October through April.

SAM Social Enterprise
Larger Donation Committment
2 Meetings
SAM Social Enterprise (SE) was launched in 2015 with the vision that market-driven approaches are essential to addressing social challenges. SAM SE invests in cutting-edge organizations that use a sustainable profit-making business model to create societal change. Key partnerships with educational institutions streamlines the participation process for members, putting our extensive due diligence process in the hands of social entrepreneurship students, helping them develop skills to become leaders in this movement.



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.